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ONARGA — Two people died Wednesday evening in a series of events that began when a car lost a tire on Interstate 57 near Onarga.
According to state police, a Tennessee man was hit by a car and killed as he tried to bring back the tire that had come off his car, and a Bartlett man then was hit and killed by another car when he stopped to help.
Jimmy Lee Westbrook, 58, of Brownsville, Tenn., pulled to the shoulder in the northbound lanes of I-57 about 5:40 p.m. Wednesday when a tire and rim came off the driver’s side of his car. He crossed the highway to the median to get his tire and as he was crossing back to his car, he was hit by a car driven by Edward Fahrforth of Summit.
Jack S. Douglas, 80, of Bartlett, stopped to help Westbrook, who was lying in traffic. He helped Westbrook’s female passenger pull Westbrook onto the shoulder, then said he would call for help. As he ran back across the road to his vehicle, he was hit by a car driven by Sook Hwang, 59, of Champaign.
Mr. Westbrook was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr. Douglas was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, where he was pronounced dead at 11:01 p.m..
The northbound lanes of I-57 were shut down and traffic was redirected at the Buckley exit for about 2 1/2 hours.
Police are still investigating, but no tickets have been issued.