The bus was traveling west on Interstate 70 when it crashed into commercial vehicles parked on an exit ramp, the Illinois State Police said.
Police said more than 70 vehicles were involved in the crashes that left parts of Interstate 55 closed and more than 35 people injured. Injuries ranged from minor to life-threatening.
The three men were all ice fishermen, and two of the men were brothers.
Arkansas State Police said the agency would investigate the use of force.