The victims of Wednesday’s furry wreck on Manito Black Top Road have been identified as 58-year-old Thomas Williamson of Tremont and 19-year-old Austin Macewan of Pekin.
Illinois State Police say the driver of the other vehicle, 70-year-old Kathleen Goldring crossed the center line. She survived the crash and was taken to OSF St. Francis Medical Center.
Tazewell County Chief Deputy Jeff Lower tells 25News Ms. Goldring could be cited as the investigation is still ongoing.
The young man killed, Macewan, was dating the daughter of the other man killed, Mr. Williamson, according Lower.
Wednesday’s fatal accident, one of five total crashes that day, was just the latest, following a fatal head-on collision on Kickapoo Creek Road that claimed the life of a man and an unborn child, and the collision on Airport Road near Dietrich Lane that took the life of a young girl.
All of these accidents have been within the past month.
“For sure, it’s been a spike in fatal crashes,” said Trooper Ross Green with Illinois State Police. “And it’s definitely something we don’t like to see.”
Trooper Green says that for his district, which covers Stark, Marshall, Woodford, Tazewell and Peoria counties, there have been 32 fatal wrecks so far this year - with Peoria County claiming the most.
“I hate to say this, but we’re not promised to get to our destination safe and alive every single time,” said Trooper Green. “So you have to not take for granted getting behind the wheel of a vehicle or getting in a vehicle period.”
He explained the wrecks can usually be attributed to a combination of speeding, distracted driving, DUI or no using turn signals.
Kristina Hestrom of Balda driving school says that drivers are becoming too complacent behind the wheel.
“One of the things I teach my kids is that the cars today are so well built, and so comfortable...that we don’t realize how much they weigh, how fast we’re going,” she said.
Trooper Green agrees, saying speed - especially when drivers don’t give themselves enough time to get to work or wherever their destination is - is a big culprit.
“People really have to weigh their options,” he said, “and understand it’s not worth their life to push it that hard.”