Headlines for Sunday, July 24th

Illinois State Police released details on a two-vehicle crash in northern Wayne County Friday afternoon that resulted in two fatalities and injured three others.  A van driven by 22 year old Olivia Flexter of Clay City was southbound on Route 45 near Wayne County Road 2200 North and, according to police, attempted to turn east onto 2200 North in front of a semi, driven by 29 year old Patrick Gaboury of Clinton, IA.  The semi hit the rear of the van, causing the van to leave the roadway to the east and hit a tree.  A passenger in Flexter’s vehicle, 61 year old Evelyn Flexter of Clay City was pronounced dead at the scene.  A second passenger, an eight-year-old girl was flown to a regional hospital and later pronounced dead.  Two other passengers, a three year old male and a four year old female were flown to a regional hospital with life-threatening injuries.  Olivia Flexter was cited for failure to yield the right of way.

As of this morning the Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 3,528,282 total cases of the coronavirus in the state and 34,309 total deaths.  Online reports indicated Wayne County had 67 new cases within the past week and one new hospitalization.  58 counties in the state are considered at a “high community level” and 36 counties are at the “medium community level”.  The reports said Jefferson County had recorded 127 new cases within the past week and two hospitalizatons, while Clay County had 54 new cases and one new hospitalization.

The Edwards County Equine Show was held Friday.  The Senior Showmanship winner was Natalie Shelby who received a trophy donated by Bailey Enterprises, Inc.  The Novice division belt buckle, donated by Bunting Quarter Horse, Don & Nancy Bunting, was awarded to Alyssa Smith.  Regan Wright of Mt. Carmel, IL judged the show and Dustin Hawkins Integrity Real Estate provided the sound system.

Authorities are investigating a small plane crash that occurred Saturday afternoon near Centralia.  Reports said a small single engine plane crashed into a swimming pool shortly before 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon at a home in the 1500 block of Woods Lane, less than a mile from the Centralia Airport.  One occupant was pronounced dead while a second was flown to a regional hospital.  The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.

Illinois State Police at the District 13 post, headquartered at DuQuoin, investigated an accident this past Wednesday involving two motorists from Mill Shoals.  The wreck occurred in Williamson County on Illinois Route 37 just south of Kellville Road.  The identity of those involved were not released by police, but they said a Carterville, IL man was driving a pickup north on Illinois Route 37 and a semi driven by a 62 year old male from Mill Shoals and another semi driven by a 65 year old male from Mill Shoals were southbound at the same location.  For unknown reasons the pickup crossed the center line and hit the side of one of the semis and the front of the other, causing one of the semis to leave the roadway and overturn.  The driver of the pickup was pronounced dead at the scene.  The 65 year old male from Mill Shoals was flown to a regional hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Some heat relief is expected for the region this week.  A Heat Advisory remains in effect until 8 p.m. tonight as another hot and humid day is expected today.  Starting late this afternoon and into tonight, chances for showers and thunderstorms are expected to increase, resulting in lower temperatures, especially during the day.  The rain chances are in the forecast each day through this coming Friday.

Area river stages as of this morning:  Little Wabash River east of Fairfield is at 24.04 feet.  Flood stage is 17 feet.  At Clay City the stage is 16.28 feet.  Flood stage is 18 feet.  At Carmi the stage is 14.56 feet.  Flood stage is 27 feet.  The Skillet Fork at Wayne City is at 5.26 feet.  Flood stage is 15 feet.  The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel is at 5.26 feet.  Flood stage is 19 feet.