Changes being made on I-74 to stop accidents

Published 10/18 2012 06:24PM

Updated 10/19 2012 09:25AM

URBANA -- The Illinois Transportation Department is trying to make I-74 safer. Crews are putting in guards rails between Urbana and Danville. It's an area considered "high priority." That's because the medians are so narrow, it makes it easy for cars to crossover and hit others head on. 
That is what happened to Mark and Chason Sjuts.
"It was about 3:00 in the afternoon and we got the call that Mark and Chason had been killed in an accident on I-74," said Keith Sjuts.

For him, more than two years later, it still stings.

"It was the worst day of our family's life," said Sjuts.

His brother and nephew were driving east on I-74. They were just passing the Gilbert Street exit near Danville when, "their car hydroplaned, skidded across the highway and, of course, hit a semi head on," said Sjuts. 
Officials at the Department of Transportation say those types of accidents happen a lot along this interstate. That's why these guide wire rails are being installed. It's something that wasn't there when Mark and Chason crashed.

"You know, who knows? Maybe it would've saved their lives, maybe it wouldn't have, but I think their chance of survival may have been enhanced with that guide wire," said Sjuts.

Here is how the rail works. When a car or truck hits it, the posts break off. The wire then slightly bends to let the car slow down and then come to a stop.

"Hopefully it can save someone else's life," said Sjuts.

The most recent construction happened between High Cross road and Saint Joseph and cost more than $2 million.

"As far as putting a dollar to it, I don't think there's a dollar amount we can talk about that would be worth bringing my brother and his son's life back. To us, money means nothing. They're gone forever and we have to live with that," said Sjuts.
The next phase of construction starts when IDOT has sufficient funds. Rails will be put up between US-150 near Danville and the state line.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.