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Headlines for Sunday, January 19, 2014

State police have released the identity of the two passengers killed in a one-vehicle crash in Jefferson County early Saturday morning.  34-year-old Melanie May and nine-year-old Aaron T. May both of Benton, IL were passengers in a jeep driven by 19-year-old Nicholas W. Rakas of Benton, IL.  Rakas was southbound on Illinois Route 37 just north of East Adams Road when the jeep crossed the centerline and hit a guard rail before rolling into an icy creek bed and coming to rest on its top.  Rakas was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon, IL for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

26-year-old Joseph A. Decker of Flat Rock, IL was killed early Saturday morning in a one-vehicle crash in Lawrence County.  State police say Decker was westbound on Birds Road near Illinois Route 33 in Lawrence County when the pickup he was driving went off the roadway, hit a ditch and culvert and went airborne, landing on its side in a creek.  Police report the crash happened at 3:30 Saturday morning but was not discovered until around 10:15 a.m.  Decker was pronounced dead at the scene by the Lawrence County Coroner at 10:31 a.m.

Authorities have not yet released the identity of a person that died in an Olney house fire Friday morning.  The fire occurred at 3358 East Mount Pleasant Road around 4:45 Friday morning.  Several area fire departments helped battle the blaze for nearly nine hours and provided mutual aid.  Officials with the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office and Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services along with Richland County authorities are investigating the fatal fire.

Illinois State Police District 19 Interim Commander, Lieutenant Cory Risvedt has released the activity and enforcement figures for 2013.  Troopers in District 19 answered 4488 calls for service and issued 7580 citations, including 3295 speeding tickets and 1014 seat belt tickets.  Troopers also made 121 DUI arrests and 441 criminal arrests and investigated nine fatal traffic crashes resulting in 13 fatalities.  District 19 includes Wayne, Edwards, White, Wabash, Hamilton, Saline and Gallatin counties.

Congressman John Shimkus and State Representative David Reis will both be available to meet with constitutents in Richland County later this week.  Both will be at Reis’ office at 219 East Main Street in Olney Wednesday afternoon from 1 til 2:30 p.m.  Those interested in scheduling an appointment to discuss any concerns with either Shimkus or Reis can call Shimkus’ office at (217) 347-7947.  Appointments are not necessary but are helpful in cutting down on waiting times.  Those needing special accomodations are encouraged to call at least 48 hours ahead of the office hours.

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