Is it out of the realm of possibilities that this Muslim truck driver was following jihadi directives?
HAMEL, Ill. — Illinois State Police say a Colorado man was the driver of a truck that crashed into several vehicles on Interstate 55 in southwestern Illinois, killing four people.
Police spokesman Calvin Dye Jr. says 53-year-old Mohamed Yussuf Jama of Greeley was driving the tractor-trailer when it crashed into vehicles that had slowed or stopped in a construction zone near Hamel on Nov. 21.
Dye told the Belleville News-Democrat that no citations had been issued to Jama as of Saturday. An investigation was continuing.
The crash, which involved eight vehicles, killed 20-year-old Tori Carroll of Alhambra; 20-year-old Hailey Bertels and her 17-year-old sister, Madisen Bertels, of Staunton; and 19-year-old Vivian Vu of Joplin, Missouri.
State police investigators are reviewing Jama’s medical records, toxicology, commercial driver log books and the truck, Dye told the News-Democrat.
Jama’s 2016 Freightliner Cascadia slammed into cars on Interstate 55 with “no attempt to stop,” Dye said. The cars were slowed or stopped in traffic, ahead of the truck. The semi ran over some vehicles.
“This is one of the worst crashes some of us have ever seen,” Dye told the Illinois paper.
Hamel is about 30 miles northeast of St. Louis.
Illinois State Police troopers investigating a highway crash that killed four, including two sisters from Staunton, obtained warrants to search the tractor-trailer involved but have not located the truck driver’s cell phone.
ISP Special Agent Derek Weh applied for a search warrant Monday to search the 2016 Freightliner driven by Mohamed Yussuf Jama, 53, of Greeley, Colorado. No citations have been issued against Jama, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
In the affidavit, Weh stated that Jama initially did not give a statement about what caused the crash.
A passenger in the semi, Ahmed Mahdi Hussein, reported being asleep at the time of the crash. Hussein, 38, told police he knew Jama had a cell phone, but no phone was found on Jama at the accident scene or at the hospital, Weh’s affidavit stated.
Police tried calling a phone number that Hussein provided for Jama, but the phone was no longer receiving calls.
Weh’s affidavit stated that investigators first searched the truck, with a warrant, on Nov. 30, but “no cellular phone was located during the search.”
On Friday, Jama was interviewed by ISP investigators, and he confirmed that he had a cell phone at the time of the crash. He told investigators the phone was in a cubbyhole in the truck’s dashboard. He told police that he did not see his phone after the accident, and the last time he saw his phone, it was in the passenger compartment of the semi.
Police obtained a second search warrant, and searched the truck again Tuesday, but documents filed by police indicate nothing was taken from the truck as a result of the second search.
Ahmed was interviewed by police again Friday. He told them the paper travel logs they were required to keep were located in a compartment above the driver’s head. In the second application for a search warrant, police obtained permission to seize those types of records, along with electronic engine control modules, from the truck.
The detective’s affidavit states that Jama had an attorney present during his interview Friday.
The crash was captured on video by a camera mounted in a tractor-trailer that was not involved in the crash. That video, captured from behind the crash, shows that Jama’s truck “crashed into multiple passenger vehicles in front of it without braking,” according to the detective’s affidavit.
Jama’s 2016 Freightliner Cascadia crashed into several cars on Interstate 55, killing four young women Nov. 21.
Illinois State Police Trooper Calvin Dye Jr. has said Jama made “no attempt to stop” before crashing into seven vehicles in front of him, which were slowed or stopped in a construction zone.
Illinois State Police say eight vehicles were involved in the crash, which occurred at about 6:15 p.m. on the southbound side of the interstate at milepost 27, just south of Hamel. The accident killed four people and injured another 12.
Why did his cellphone suddenly disappear and stop working? Greeley, Colorado where Jama resides has a long-standing Islamic problem.