Illinois State Police responded to a stranded charter bus Wednesday morning in subzero temperatures, with troopers hustling passengers to nearby shelter.
On Wednesday, around 6:45 a.m., ISP District 9 responded to a call reporting a stranded charter bus northbound on I-55 at milepost 79 (southern Sangamond County).
Twenty-one passengers, including two children, were traveling northbound when the bus broke down.
Realizing the passengers had been without heat for some time, a plan was coordinated to have them transported off the roadway to shelter.
Several troopers from nearby districts responded to the incident. Passengers of the bus were placed in ISP vehicles where they had access to heat. Additionally, the ISP Academy responded to the scene with several vans so the passengers could be transported safely off of the roadway.
Passengers were taken to Toni’s Café, next to the Travel Center in Auburn, Ill. They were accommodated with food and shelter as they waited for another bus traveling from St. Louis, Missouri.
The exact cause of the breakdown is unknown; however, as with the several dozens of truck tractor semi-trailers stranded on the roadway, it appears the diesel fuel gelled in the fuel system. The ISP would like to remind motorists to stay alert of weather conditions where they plan to travel and treat their diesel fuel for extremely cold temperatures.
“The men and women of ISP are working diligently to ensure motorists are safe from these extremely cold temperatures,” ISP Acting Director Brendan Kelly said. “Without them, there could have been a completely different outcome for the folks on this bus. If you must travel, please ensure your vehicle is ready to operate in the extreme conditions. And as always, move over if you can do so safely for our first responders and any stationary vehicle with activated hazard lights.”