5 Memphis mourners die in car crash

Deady crash in Memphis.jpeg

Tragedy was compounded when five people from Memphis, Tennessee who were headed to Chicago for a burial died in a crash in southern Illinois.

Illinois State Police said Friday the driver of an SUV and its four passengers died Thursday afternoon on Interstate 57 in Franklin County when the SUV crashed into the rear of a semitrailer.

Police on Friday identified the victims as the SUV’s driver, 80-year-old Magnolia G. Armstrong; 78-year-old Coraleen A. Luellen; 75-year-old Peggy Jackson Armstrong; 78-year-old Helen Elizabeth Armstrong; and 76-year-old Harold Edward Armstrong.

Fifty-nine-year-old Andrea E. Lesure survived the crash, as did the driver of the semitrailer, 38-year-old Dawit Tekeste Gebermichael of Houston.

According to Chicago Tribune, it was unclear why those killed were headed to Chicago but The Southern Illinoisan confirmed from a family friend, Quincy Jones of Memphis, that the group was traveling to Chicago for a funeral.

However, Andrea Lesure’s son, Andre, told the Commercial Appeal in Memphis the SUV’s passengers were headed to Chicago for a wedding. He said they decided to drive because they weren’t fond of flying.

State Police said their investigation into the crash continues.