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Coroner: 5-year-old boy dies in Channahon crash

The scene of the Christmas Eve morning crash.
The scene of the Christmas Eve morning crash.

CHANNAHON – A 5-year-old boy died after a single-vehicle rollover crash on Interstate 55 in Channahon, according to the Will County Coroner’s Office.

Malcolm Townsel of Belleville was pronounced dead at 9:40 a.m. Christmas Eve in the emergency room of Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet.

A preliminary investigation showed that Townsel suffered multiple injuries while riding in a blue 2005 Dodge Durango SUV involved in a single-vehicle rollover crash that occurred shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday on I-55 southbound at mile marker 248 in Channahon, according to the coroner’s office.

The final cause and manner of death is pending a review of police reports, crash reports and medical records.

A 3-year-old child also was reportedly hospitalized after the crash, as were Jonathan Bridges, 42, of Belleville, and Evett Hamilton, 42, of Cicero, officials said.

That child’s condition was not available Tuesday morning.

A preliminary investigation from the Illinois State Police indicated that Bridges, the driver, was traveling too fast for conditions on I-55 and lost control. The car entered a ditch, struck a guardrail and pole, and overturned.

The cause of the crash still is under investigation by state police.

Bridges was cited for driving too fast for conditions and child restraint citation.

The Channahon Fire Protection District responded to the scene just north of mile marker 247, according to a news release. Responders found an SUV that was flipped upside down.

The vehicle was in a culvert west of the highway and just south of the Route 6 entrance ramp. All passengers were attended to. One of the children had to be freed from the vehicle.

Firefighters had to stabilize the vehicle with specialized equipment to ensure the safety of the victims and firefighters. It took about 35 minutes to free the child.

Both children were taken in critical condition to Presence St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Joliet. Bridges and Hamilton were taken to Morris Hospital and Presence St. Joseph’s Medical Center.

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