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Illinois police now believe other car caused crash that killed
MARION, Ill. -- Illinois State Police now believe a different vehicle caused an accident on Interstate 57 that killed five people on Thanksgiving Day.
At first authorities said a northbound van carrying the Flores family from Chicago crossed the median just before 2 a.m. near Marion and struck two vehicles head-on. The van burst into flames, killing everyone inside.
After interviewing more witnesses and further investigating the crash scene, Illinois State Police on Friday said a northbound Nissan Maxima crossed the median and hit the van, which was actually in the southbound lanes.
Candelario Flores, 35, his wife, Blanca, 32, and their two daughters, 9 and 6, were in the van heading to Texas to spend Thanksgiving with relatives. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
The man driving the Nissan, Rudolph Pasquino, 71, of Kathleen, Fla. also died in the crash. He was going to the St. Louis area, said trooper Bob Ventura, a crash reconstruction officer for the state police.
Six people in a third car that was hit were treated for their injuries at the scene, state police said.
In Chicago on Friday, friends of the Flores family struggled with their loss. Blanca Flores had worked for six years with the Victim Witness Assistance Program at the Criminal Courts Building, arranging travel for victims and trial witnesses.
Her Catholic faith was her foundation, and her family was her priority, said her co-worker Jackie Buckley
"She was so positive and genuine," Buckley said.