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5-year-old riding in sleeping berth ejected when semi hits median on St. Louis bridge

A 5-year-old girl died from injuries she sustained in a crash on the Poplar Street Bridge Monday morning.

According to Illinois State Police, a semi-truck driven by Janette Kirby, 44, of Texarkana, Texas, struck a concrete median at northbound Interstate 55 at milepost .5, just east of the bridge, at about 5:30 a.m. A piece of aluminum which weighed approximately 17 tons came loose from its straps, struck the rear of the cab and forced the Peterbilt truck to overturn on the driver’s side.

The 5-year-old riding in the sleeper berth of the truck was ejected. She died at an area hospital as a result of her injuries.

Three others, including Kirby and 17- and 15-year old boys, were treated for minor injuries.

Carolyn P. Smith has worked for the Belleville News-Democrat for 18 years and currently covers breaking news in the Metro-East. She graduated from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri at Columbia and says news is in her DNA.
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