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ICPHD Safe Sitter® Class - March 27, 2024

Safe Sitter® prepares students in grades 6-8 to be safe when they’re home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting. Students learn life-saving skills such as how to rescue someone who’s choking, and helpful information like what to do if there’s severe weather. The lessons are filled with fun activities and role-playing exercises. Students even get to use CPR manikins to practice choking rescue and CPR. Safety Skills: Students learn how to prevent unsafe situations and what to do when faced with dangers such as power failures or weather emergencies. Child Care Skills: Students learn tips to manage behavior that will help them stay in control of themselves and the children in their care. Students also learn the ages and stages of child development, as well as practice diapering. First Aid & Rescue Skills: Learning skills such as choking rescue and CPR is often students’ favorite part of the class. Students also learn a system to help them assess and respond to injuries and illnesses. Life & Business Skills: The ability to screen jobs, discuss fees, and greet employers will set students up for success now and in the future. Students practice these skills through various role play. The Iroquois County Public Health Department will be hosting our next class on March 27, 2024 at the Iroquois County Administrative Center located at 1001 East Grant Street in Watseka, IL. Registration and payment are due March 13, 2024 by calling 815-432-2483 or emailing Cost: $35 Date: March 27, 2024 Time: 9:00am - 3:30pm Payment Method: In person or mail cash/check made out to ICPHD for Safe Sitter® class.


 The Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency invites you to celebrate a historic milestone for Iroquois County! Please join us at 11:30 AM on Monday, March 4th, 2024, at the Iroquois County Courthouse, 550 S. 10th Ave, Watseka, IL 60970 as Iroquois County formally receives their StormReady accreditation from the National Weather Service. The ceremony will take place outside the main entrance (on the west side) of the courthouse, weather permitting. The StormReady program uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle all types of extreme weather- from tornadoes to winter storms. The program encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations by providing emergency managers with clear-cut guidelines on how to improve their hazardous weather operations. The StormReady program helps arm America’s communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property- before, during and after an extreme weather event, from tornadoes to winter storms. StormReady areas are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education, and awareness. No community is storm proof, but StormReady can help communities save lives. Iroquois County is the 39th county in Illinois to receive this prestigious accreditation. Special guests are scheduled to include Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Mike Bardou from the National Weather Service office in Chicago, State Senator Tom Bennett, State Representative Jason Bunting, County Board Chairman John Shure and other members of the county board. Remarks will be made by Mike Bardou from the National Weather Service, Iroquois County’s Emergency Management Agency Coordinator, Scott Anderson, as well as others. The ceremony will include the presentation of a certificate as well as a StormReady sign from the National Weather Service. A photo opportunity will be made available. If you have any questions, please contact Scott Anderson at .

Head-on crash on Illinois Route 1 claims 2 lives

 Two people died in a head-on crash Monday on Illinois Route 1 near East 11000N Road, approximately 2.5 miles north of Grant Park.

The Kankakee County Coroner’s Office identified the victims as Ricky A. Castillo, 31, of Grant Park, and Penelope A. Manthey, 54, of Crete.

According to a Kankakee County Coroner’s Office press release, at approximately 11:26 p.m., the Grant Park Fire Department, Grant Park Police Department, Illinois State Police Troop 5 and Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department were notified of the crash.


Upon arrival, the Grant Park Fire Department determined the driver of each vehicle had died and requested assistance from the Kankakee County Coroner’s Office.

The preliminary investigation determined a 2009 Ford Fusion driven by Castillo was traveling south on Illinois Route 1 when it crossed the centerline and struck the northbound 2018 Ford Edge driven by Manthey.

The collision resulted in extensive fire damage to the Ford Fusion. Both individuals were pronounced dead on scene at 12:05 a.m., Tuesday.

Autopsies on both individuals were completed Tuesday. The incident remains under investigation by the Kankakee County Coroner’s Office and Illinois State Police Troop 5.


 The Illinois State Police (ISP) arrested 45-year-old Juan Carlos Oliva Lopez from Houston, TX for Controlled Substance Trafficking (Class X Felony). On February 19, 2024 at approximately 3:01 p.m., an ISP trooper conducted a federal motor carrier safety compliance inspection traffic stop on a Freightliner semi on Interstate 57 northbound just south of Ashkum, in Iroquois County. During the traffic stop, numerous indicators of criminal activity were observed. A consent search revealed approximately 49 lbs. of suspected cocaine/fentanyl, with a street value of almost $700,000. Lopez was taken into custody and transported to the Iroquois County Jail. The Iroquois County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Lopez with Controlled Substance Trafficking. No further information is available.

Eastern Illinois Foodbank Announces "Foodmobile" Food Giveaways in Iroquois County

– Eastern Illinois Foodbank (EIF) is distributing food to area families facing food insecurity. The Foodmobile will travel throughout southern Iroquois County on 03/21/2024 and northern Iroquois County on 03/27/2024, with distribution sites and times and for each town listed at Those attending are asked to bring boxes or bags to transport food. The distribution is part of the Foodbank’s Foodmobile Program, a system of mobile food pantries designed to help bring nutritious food to rural or underserved areas. This month’s distributions are made possible with support from Illinois American Water. Those planning to attend should pre-register at, although doing so does not guarantee a place in line. 


Information and forms for the Senior Citizens Property Tax Deferral program are available from the office of Iroquois County Treasurer, Kurt Albers, according to an announcement made by the Treasurer’s Office. The program allows qualified senior citizens to defer all or part of their 2023 property taxes up to $5,000 on their personal residence. Applications must be filed with the Treasurer’s office by March 1, 2023 in order to defer 2023 taxes billed in 2024. To qualify, a person must be 65 or over by June 1, 2023, have a total household income of $55,000 or less, and have lived in the property for at least three years. In addition, there must be no delinquent taxes on the property. Qualified taxpayers can defer taxes totaling up to 80 percent of the equity interest they have in the home. The program sets up a form of a loan with a six percent interest rate which doesn’t become due until the taxpayer sells the property or until after the taxpayer’s death. To apply for the program, the person has to file two forms with the County Treasurer’s office. The first form (IL1017 TD) asks for basic information on the taxpayer, their income and their property. It also requires that joint owners agree to the tax deferral. In addition, it requires that evidence be presented of adequate insurance on the property. The second form (IL1018 TD) is the agreement for the tax deferral. It sets out the conditions of the deferral, including the amount which can be deferred, the interest rate and the arrangements for paying back the “loan”. If you have any questions about this program, please contact the County Treasurer’s office in the Iroquois County Administrative Center, 1001 E. Grant Street, Watseka. The phone number is 815-432-6985. 

Shooter from December in Iroquois county, brought to justice.

On Thursday, February 8, 2024, the Iroquois County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Jasper County, Indiana, Sheriff’s Office, arrested John E. Brown, age 52, of rural Beaverville, IL, at a residence in DeMotte, IN, following an investigation in to a shooting that occurred on Friday, December 29, 2023, at a residence in northeastern Iroquois County near the Indiana State Line. Mr. Brown was wanted on an Iroquois County warrant charging him with Aggravated Battery, Unlawful Possession of Weapon by Felon and Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm following an investigation in to the late night shooting that sent one person to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The victim was transported to Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, IL, following the shooting, where they were treated for a gunshot wound to the lower extremity. Mr. Brown was taken in to custody without incident by U.S. Marshals and transported to the Jasper County Jail, where he remains awaiting extradition to Illinois.

National Weather Service SKYWARN Spotter Training in Watseka with a special presentation from renowned tornado spotter Danny Neal!

The Chicago office of the National Weather Service, in cooperation with Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency, will be conducting a SKYWARN spotter training seminar at the “Hub” in Watseka, 114 N 3rd Street, Watseka, IL 60970. The training will begin at 6:30pm and last about two hours on Thursday February 15th . A special program by Danny Neal will follow immediately thereafter. Danny boasts over 350,000 followers on his Illinois Storm Chasers Facebook Page. SKYWARN is a national effort to save lives during severe weather emergencies with an expanding network of trained volunteer weather spotters. SKYWARN spotters support their local community and government by providing reports of severe weather directly to the National Weather Service in Chicago by phone using the NWS spotter hotline, or by online reporting. The services performed by SKYWARN spotters have saved many lives. The National Weather Service has several devices for detecting severe thunderstorms, including Doppler radar, satellite, and lightning detection networks. However, the most important tool for observing thunderstorms is the trained eye of the storm spotter. By providing observations, SKYWARN spotters assist National Weather Service staff in their warning decisions and enable the National Weather Service to fulfill its mission of protecting life and property. Storm spotters are, and always will be, an indispensable part of the severe local storm warning program. This basic training session provides a brief overview of the National Weather Service organization and their responsibilities, severe weather safety, and basic severe weather meteorology- including how thunderstorms, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flash floods form. Anyone can become a severe weather spotter for the National Weather Service. SKYWARN training is free and open to the public. After the National Weather Service Chicago Spotter Training Course, stick around for a surprise presentation from Danny Neal, a man who has 26 years of in-the-field weather experiences, and has documented 133 tornadoes across the country. Learn the journey he took from being afraid of storms to actively pursuing and being within a few hundred yards of tornadoes. He will go more in depth on spotter safety tips through his experiences. He will guide you through his journeys in the field and show you the best- and worst, Mother Nature has to offer and why decisions were made to either keep him safe, or put him deeper into harm's way. This interactive presentation will be filled with Danny's pictures and video. You don't want to miss this exciting look inside the world of in-the-field weather documentation! Registration is requested, but not required. The registration link and more information about the program is available at 


National Weather Service Chicago Severe Weather Spotter Training in Watseka Tickets, Thu, Feb 15, 2024 at 6:30 PM | Eventbrite

2 vehicle, minor injury crash-Kentland

On 02/05/2024 at approximately 9:50 AM Newton County Deputies were dispatched to the area of US 41 at CR 1500 S. Reference to a two vehicle accident. Initial investigations indicate Unit 1 was driven by 41 year old DeMotte woman which was traveling northbound US 41 in the right lane. Unit 2 was driven by 56 year old DeMotte woman traveling northbound US 41 in the left lane. Unit 1 merged into the left lane colliding with unit 2. Driver of Unit 1 was transported to IMH for further medical evaluation. Assisting agencies: Kentland Fire, Riverside Ambulance and Newton County Communications

Iroquois County is Deemed "StormReady" by National Weather Service

 Iroquois County has been deemed a “StormReady” county by the National Weather Service (NWS), according to Scott Anderson, Iroquois County’s Emergency Management Agency Coordinator. NWS officials came to the county’s Emergency Operations Center on Friday, February 2nd, to complete the process of the “StormReady” designation. “Out of the 102 counties in the State of Illinois, only 38 had previously received this designation,” Anderson mentioned, “with Iroquois County completing this process, there are now 39 counties. Like other areas in the State, we have had our fair share of weather events in recent years. From snowstorms to rains and flooding to damaging high winds, receiving this designation sends a message that our team, as well as our communities, are prepared for what comes our way,” said Anderson. According to the NWS, some 98 percent of all federally declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. The StormReady program helps arm America's communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property--before, during and after the event. To be officially StormReady, a community must: • Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center • Have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public • Create a system that monitors weather conditions locally • Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises. “Being storm ready starts with preparedness, which means we focus on our training and our planning to make sure we can tackle adverse weather events, even though you can’t predict the future,” said Anderson. “It takes all of us in the community working together to truly be StormReady.” An official presentation of the StormReady designation will take place at a press conference, to be held at the Iroquois County Courthouse, during the first week in March- which is Severe Storm Preparedness Week. The actual date and time have yet to be finalized and will be announced in a separate press release.

McCombie Releases Capitol Crimes Podcast-Pam Knight Story here

House Minority Leader Tony McCombie is spearheading a new podcast series called Capitol Crimes, to chronicle the stories behind legislation introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives. Listeners will hear from the sponsors of legislation that was crafted to keep Illinoisans safe and state government accountable as well as the perspective from the witnesses and experts. Capitol Crimes’ host Dean Abbott will unpack the ‘why’ of the legislation while telling the story of the legislative measures and, what happened to those measures after they were filed in the House of Representatives.


The first episode of Capitol Crimes was released today, and features Leader McCombie discussing “The Pam Knight Story.” Pam Knight, a child protection specialist for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, was murdered while on duty, working to help protect a child in need. Despite this brutal tragedy that rocked the state, McCombie has battled for five years to pass legislation that would better protect DCFS caseworkers from violence on the job, yet those bills have shockingly failed to pass and become law.


This year, McCombie has continued the fight to enact legislation that would give DCFS workers the kinds of on-the-job protections provided by law for police officers and other public servants in volatile situations. She encourages anyone curious about the Pam Knight case, or asking why something has not been done yet to prevent horrific acts like this from happening again, to tune into today’s first episode. “I am pleased to get this podcast out into the world, to make sure people hear the story of Pam Knight, which will help garner support for essential legislation we must pass to make sure tragedies like this never happen again,” said McCombie


Leader McCombie’s legislation includes HB1460 and HB1461 which will heighten the penalties against anyone who commits aggravated battery toward a person working as a DCFS employee or working under the Adult Protective Services Program with the Department on Aging.  


“Supporting our DCFS workers does not just mean attending their funerals,” continued McCombie. “It means doing everything within our power to make sure those funerals never happen in the first place.”


Capitol Crimes will release a new episode each Monday for the following two weeks, after which listeners can expect thoughtful and compelling episodes each month.  Tune in to listen to the Pam Knight Story here:

Eastern Illinois Foodbank Announces "Foodmobile" Food Giveaways in Iroquois County

When: Thursday, February 15 2024 & Wednesday, February 28 2024

Where: Iroquois County

Iroquois County, IL – Eastern Illinois Foodbank (EIF) is distributing food to area families facing food insecurity. The Foodmobile will travel throughout southern Iroquois County on 02/15/2024 and northern Iroquois County on 02/28/2024, with distribution sites and times and for each town listed at Those attending are asked to bring boxes or bags to transport food.

The distribution is part of the Foodbank’s Foodmobile Program, a system of mobile food pantries designed to help bring nutritious food to rural or underserved areas. Those planning to attend should pre-register at, although doing so does not guarantee a place in line. Income guidelines are as follows:

Updates regarding future food distributions can be found at the Foodbank’s website at


Eastern Illinois Foodbank (EIF) works to alleviate hunger in eastern Illinois as the primary food source to a network of 170 food pantries, agencies, and other programs throughout our 18-county service area. Through these agencies, the Foodbank provides meals to more than 1 million people each year. Since 1983, EIF has led the fight against hunger and strengthened communities by providing food access, emergency relief, education, and advocacy to families in east-central Illinois. EIF is a member of Feeding America, Feeding Illinois, the United Way of Coles County, and the United Way of Champaign County. For more information, visit


On Thursday, January 25, 2024, at approximately 9:30 a.m., KAMEG Agents, assisted by the United States Marshals Service and the Kankakee City Police Department, executed a search warrant at 197 N. Wildwood Avenue, Kankakee, IL, in conjunction with an ongoing KAMEG narcotics investigation. Thirteen adults were located inside the residence upon execution. A large plastic bag containing 35 individually packaged plastic bags containing suspected cannabis (approximately 150 grams) and multiple items related to drug sales and use were located inside the residence. As a result of the investigation, the following individuals were arrested and transported to the Jerome Combs Detention Center.


Detrious T. Kizer, age 52, of Kankakee, was arrested on a No Bond, Kankakee County warrant for Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance and Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance.


Gregory W. King Jr., age 35, of Kankakee, was arrested on a No Bond, Kankakee County warrant for Failure to Appear-Burglary. Upon arrival at JCDC, King was found to be in possession of approximately 3.4 grams of suspected cocaine, which was concealed in his sock. King was also charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance.


Amanda S. Houston, age 57, of Kankakee, was arrested on a valid arrest warrant out of Arkansas for parole violation.


Tubbie L. Gordon Jr., age 53, of Kankakee, was arrested on a No Bond, Kankakee County warrant for Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance and Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance/Fentanyl. While Agents were departing the residence, Gordon was observed at a nearby business and subsequently taken into custody for the arrest warrant related to the investigation at the Wildwood Avenue address.


KAMEG reminds the public to call KAMEG at (815) 933-1710 to report non-emergency information about drug dealing, illegal firearms and gang problems.  We recognize our partnership with the public is important for quality-of-life issues for our citizens and children.   


KAMEG is comprised of personnel from the Illinois State Police, Bradley Police Department, Bourbonnais Police ‎Department, ‎ Kankakee Police Department, Kankakee ‎County Sheriff’s ‎Office, and the Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s ‎Office


Schroeder, former Iroquois Co. board chair, dies

Ron Schroeder wore many hats during his life.

Following his 1961 graduation from St. Anne Community High School, the Papineau Township man worked at the then-thriving Kankakee Roper manufacturing plant.

He later had a 10-year career as an Illinois State Trooper, having worked out of the Pontiac and then the Ashkum districts.


However, following a 10-year stint of patrolling the maze of district roads, Schroeder found his true love — agriculture — as well as a dash of politics.

Schroeder died Jan. 10 at Loyola University Medical Center following an extended illness. He was 80.

The former 24-year Iroquois County Board member, who represented the Papineau Township region, which bumped up against the Kankakee County line, also served the final nearly 11 years as board chairman.

Former Iroquois County Board member, Russ Bills, whose 27-year county board tenure bookended Schroeder’s, said while he didn’t always agree with the former chairman, he always respected him.

Bills said when Schroeder dug in his heels on a subject, he would not relent.

“He could be very aggressive,” Bills said.

He recalled an instance in which several members wanted to update a fire alarm system in a county building. Schroeder was at a loss. He stopped the committee meeting, walked out of the room and pulled a fire alarm.

It of course sounded, and emergency responders arrived.

He walked back to the meeting room and said it appeared the system was functioning.

“It was one of the biggest tee-hee moments I can ever remember,” Bills said. “They never talked about the new system again.”

Bills said he often met Schroeder at his farmhouse to talk one-on-one regarding county issues.

“His heart was always into Iroquois County,” Bills said. “He wanted people working together to accomplish things. He wanted to get things done.”


At one time, Schroeder was also a member of the St. Anne Grade School Board.

While he enjoyed police work, it was not his passion.

“Ron was too independent to be a trooper. He was too independent to follow directions,” explained wife, Linda “Cookie” Schroeder, who was also his farming partner. “The tractor seat is where he wanted to be.”

And, there was one commonly known fact in the agricultural world of Iroquois County, Cookie explained.

“If Ronnie beat you to the field, you were in trouble,” she chuckled. “Ronnie was not a morning guy. He would work late into the night, but he hated getting up in the morning. He didn’t like to get out of bed.”


Despite that agriculture oddity, Ron was in his element working on a farm which at one point reached about 700 acres. The couple also raised an assortment of livestock, ranging from hogs, veal calf, sheep and a sprinkling of chickens.

Farming neighbors noted that when Schroeder did start his day, he was not only dedicated to his farm but also to those of friends and neighbors.

One of those farming neighbors was John Schoth. The two knew one another for some 50 years.

“He was a community man and just a good guy,” the farmer said.

Schoth said there was one key rule most people adhered to: Don’t talk politics with Ron.

“I stayed out of the politics with him,” he said. “He had his opinions. He liked to be in control of things, and he was smart. Ron was no dummy, and he was not going to back down. If he had an opinion, he wasn’t going to get off of it.”

Another farming neighbor, Ben Reichert, recalled several off-the-farm trips he took with Ron to the Joliet gaming boat.

Schroeder was known for his sweet tooth and, with a buffet line filled with meats and side dishes, he bypassed all of it. He traveled straight to the dessert tables and loaded up on sweets.

“Whenever I would stop by Ron’s to talk, he always had a box of donuts,” Reichert said. “He was a great guy. If I ever needed something, Ron was always there to help.”

Like Schoth, Reichert shied away from political conversation. That tactic didn’t mean they never talked politics.

“Let me just say he wouldn’t take political advice,” he said. “I would offer some, but I don’t think he ever used it. I think I can say he never used it. But I will say, Ron was a good guy.”



On Thursday, January 18, 2024 about 1:17am.  Newton County Dispatch received an automated message from an Iphone indicating a serious crash near the intersection of CR300W and CR 600 S, Morocco ( 2 miles south of Morocco).


The preliminary investigation by Deputy O’Hara indicated a single vehicle (driven by a 21 year old Brook, IN man) was traveling south on CR 300W, near CR 600S, veered to the west side of the road near a field entrance.  The driver lost control causing the vehicle to roll multiple times.  The male driver was extricated and transported to an area hospital.  His injury status is unknown at this time.


Assisting agencies; Newton County 9-1-1 Communications, Newton County EMS and Morocco Fire Department.

Shots fired in Iroquois County lead to 2 arrested

During the early morning hours of Sunday, January 14, 2024, Iroquois County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a rural Sheldon, IL, residence after ICOM received multiple 911 calls reporting shots being fired at a large gathering on the property. Upon their arrival, responding Deputies encountered numerous subjects fleeing the area. On scene, it was determined that the offenders left the property following the shooting and prior to law enforcement arrival. No injuries were reported from the gunfire. On Tuesday morning, January 16, 2024, the Iroquois County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by members of the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force, arrested a 17-year-old juvenile from Watseka, IL, following a subsequent investigation in to the shooting. The juvenile was taken in to custody without incident and transported to the Iroquois County Jail where they were booked on an arrest warrant charging them with Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm, a Class 1 Felony. Late Tuesday evening, 19-year-old Zakkaree M. Stano of Watseka, IL, turned himself in to Iroquois County Detectives on an arrest warrant likewise charging him with Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm. Both the juvenile and Stano remain in custody awaiting a court appearance. Sheriff’s Detectives ask that anyone with information regarding Sunday morning’s shooting contact the Sheriff’s Office at (815) 432-6992. 

January is National Radon Action Month

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated January 2024 as National Radon Action Month. The purpose of this designation is to remind residents of Iroquois County of the serious danger that radon gas poses to us in our homes. It is estimated that radon causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually in the United States. Approximately 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. The U.S. Surgeon General warns that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking and the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Radon is a natural radioactive gas that is released in rock, soil, and water from the natural decay of uranium. One of the problems with radon is that it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. The only way to tell if you have radon gas in your home is to test for it with a test kit. Mitigation is highly recommended with test results of 4 pCi/L or above. If your test results are at 2 pCi/L you should consider consulting with a mitigation professional. Assessing the radon in your home: 2pCi/L is the same as smoking 4 cigarettes per day or having 100 chest X-rays per year 4pCi/L is the same as smoking 8 cigarettes per day or having 200 chest X-rays per year 10pCi/L is like smoking more than a pack a day Free test kits are available at the Iroquois County Public Health Department. Using the test kit is easy and free, just follow the directions provided with the test kit. For further questions and concerns, please contact Kate Mueller, Director of Environmental Health at 815-432-2483 or . 


 Tragedy struck Christmas Day when a vehicle slid off an overpass and landed on top of a semi-trailer on Interstate 57 in northern Champaign County, killing both drivers.

The crash occurred around 2:50 p.m. Monday, Dec. 25, near milepost 252 north of Rantoul, according to a news release from Troop 7 Illinois State Police. It happened when a vehicle traveling west on County Road 3200 North slid off the overpass above I-57 for unknown reasons and landed on top of a northbound semi-trailer, the release said, with debris from both vehicles then striking a third vehicle that was southbound.

The drivers of the semi-trailer and the vehicle that slid off the overpass sustained life-threatening injuries and died, the release said, while the driver of the third vehicle was uninjured.

On Tuesday, Dec. 26, Champaign County Coroner Stephen Thuney identified the driver of the westbound vehicle as Tyler S. Flynn, 34, of Dewey, and the driver of the northbound semi-trailer as Muharem Ugarak, 48, of St. Louis, Mo. An autopsy will be performed on Mr. Flynn at the Champaign County Regional Autopsy Facility later this week, and no autopsy will be performed on Mr. Ugarak, Thuney said.

Starting around 3 p.m., all northbound lanes of I-57 near milepost 250 at Rantoul and all southbound lanes of I-57 near milepost 261 at Paxton were closed as the crash was investigated by police. All lanes were reopened around 12:21 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 26.

The accident was being investigated by Illinois State Police and the Champaign County Coroner’s Office.

Iroquois County Prepares for Natural Hazard Events

Iroquois County will update its plan to reduce the damage caused by severe weather such as thunderstorms, floods, snow and ice storms, and tornados, among other events. The plan is called a Hazard Mitigation Plan, and the process to update it will be funded through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).


“The Plan describes the natural hazard events that have impacted the County and identifies activities and projects to reduce the risk to residents, property, and infrastructure,” said Scott Anderson, Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator. “By having an updated hazard mitigation plan, the County and participating jurisdictions will become eligible for federal funds to carry out these projects and activities,” he added.


The Iroquois County Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee will hold its first meeting on Thursday, January 18, 2024, at 6:30 P.M. The meeting will be in the MABAS 37 Building, 103½ Main St., Crescent City (behind Ailey’s Welding Shop). The meeting is open to the public.


The Planning Committee includes representatives from the county, townships, municipalities, schools, fire protection districts, and healthcare services, as well as technical partners and other stakeholders. Meetings of this committee will be conducted over the next year as working sessions so that any interested residents can attend and ask questions. The purpose of these working sessions is to gather and discuss information that will be used to update the Plan.


“This mitigation plan is different from the County’s emergency response plan because it focuses on ways to reduce and prevent damages before they occur,” added Anderson.


Stevie A. Chapman, of Loda, died in a single-vehicle crash Saturday, according to an Iroquois County Sheriff’s news release.

The crash occurred on Iroquois County Road 200 North Road near 120 East Road in Loda.

According to police reports, a 2007 Jeep Wrangler driven by Chapman was traveling east in 200 North Road when he entered the westbound lane of traffic. Chapman then overcorrected back to the eastbound lane and briefly entered the south ditch.

The 68-year-old Chapman then overcorrected again, reentering the westbound lane of traffic, before leaving the road and driving into Bayles Lake. Upon entering the lake, Chapman’s vehicle became submerged under water several yards from the shore, the police reports said.

Two passing motorists entered the lake and swam to Chapman’s vehicle.

Members of the Loda Fire Department removed Chapman’s body after it had been submerged for approximately 20 minutes. Chapman was transported to Gibson Area Hospital where he was later pronounced dead, the police report said.

The crash remains under investigation.

The Iroquois County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by Loda Fire, Buckley Fire, Gibson EMS and Buckley EMS.


On December 14th, 2023 at 09:45 AM, Newton County Deputies responded to the intersection of US 41 and SR 14 for reports of a personal injury crash involving two vehicles. The preliminary investigation by Deputy Fenley indicates a Chevrolet Traverse (driven by a 68 year old Monticello, IL woman) was traveling Eastbound on CR 100 N when it failed to yield the right-of-way to a Northbound Peterbilt semi-truck (driven by a 61 year old Morocco, IN man). The collision caused disabling damages to both vehicles involved.

The female driver (sole occupant) of the Chevrolet was transported to an area hospital for non-life threatening injuries. The male driver (sole occupant) of the Peterbilt was evaluated on scene. Assisting agencies; Newton County 9-1-1 Communications, Newton County EMS, Newton County EMA, Morocco Fire Department, Lake Township Fire Department, Indiana DNR, and Morocco Police Dept.

Iroquois County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force made the following arrests in Iroquois County:

Deitrick D. Baines, age 41, of rural Martinton, IL, was arrested on an outstanding Iroquois County arrest warrant charging him with Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding, a Class 4 Felony. Baines was taken in to custody without incident at his residence and transported to the Iroquois County Jail.


Candace R. Searcy, age 38, of Cissna Park, IL, was arrested on outstanding warrants out of Vermilion and Douglas Counties in Illinois and Benton County in Indiana. Searcy was wanted on a Vermilion County, IL, warrant charging her with Failure to Appear for the offense of Possession of Cocaine, a Douglas County, IL, warrant charging her with Failure to Appear for the offense of Possession of Methamphetamine and a Benton County, IN, warrant charging her with a Violation of Probation for the offense of Possession of Methamphetamine. Searcy was taken in to custody without incident at her residence and transported to the Iroquois County Jail. 


Kyle A. Frazier, age 22, of Hoopeston, IL, was arrested on an outstanding Vermilion County, IL, arrest warrant charging him with Criminal Damage to Property. Frazier was taken in to custody without incident at a residence in Cissna Park, IL, and transported to the Iroquois County Jail.

Iroquois county police news 12/8/23

Police conducted a traffic stop at N Kay Street/W Hickory Street at 8:28 am. Mowrey, Stephen M., 31 of Watseka was arrested for an outstanding Kankakee County Warrant, driving while License Suspended and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. Mowrey was transported to jail without incident.

Police were called to the 400 block of W Walnut Street for a traffic accident at 6:23 pm. According to reports a 2018 Chevrolet Malibu owned by Rogers, Taylor, of Watseka was parked and unoccupied when it was struck by an unknown vehicle that left the scene. Damage was estimated at over $1500, and no injuries were reported.

On December 4, Iroquois County Sheriff’s Police arrested Delmar R. Owens, age 53, of Cissna Park. According to police reports, Owens was wanted on an outstanding Iroquois County warrant charging him with official misconduct. Owens was taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies and transported to the Iroquois County Jail where he was released with a notice to appear.

Watseka man arrested for stealing vehicles

The Tri-County Auto Task Force arrested a Watseka man last week for stealing two vehicles, including a Pembroke Township man’s truck used for a food pantry.

Edward Handy, 40, of Watseka, was charged by the Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s Office for possession of a stolen vehicle, according to online court records.

Watseka police officials said Handy’s parents were granted an order of protection against their son after he threatened them on Nov. 28.

Handy’s parents awoke Nov. 29 and discovered their vehicle had been stolen, Douglas police officials said.

It appears Handy took the keys some time prior to the order of protection being served.


Watseka police said they were notified later Nov. 29 that the vehicle was found in rural St. Anne/Pembroke area.

Handy left the vehicle there and stole the food pantry truck, according to Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department officials.

Handy was later stopped and taken into custody by Kankakee and Bradley police officers in the 300 block of East Broadway Street in Bradley, sheriff’s officials said.

On Monday, Handy was arrested for violating the order of protection, Watseka police said.

Teenage suspect arrested in Cissna Park car theft

 A teenager is under arrest in Iroquois County after the Sheriff’s Department said he broke into three cars and stole two of them over the weekend in Cissna Park.

Officials said deputies were informed of the thefts within 10 minutes of each other early Sunday morning. One was reported at 2:20 a.m. in the area of Martin Avenue and Third Street; the other was reported at 2:30 just blocks away at Harrison Avenue and Fourth Street.

Deputies arrived in the area and began looking for the stolen vehicles. The victims provided a description of a suspect and deputies later saw a 17-year-old matching the given description. The teen went into a house on Koplin Avenue.

Officials said that after being allowed into the house by the homeowner, the deputies found the teen inside with items that had been reported stolen from the cars that were broken into. The cars that had been outright stolen were later found and returned to their owners.

The teenager was placed under arrest and charged with multiple counts of burglary, possession of a stolen car, criminal damage and theft. He was initially taken to the Iroquois County Jail before being transferred to the county’s juvenile detention facility, pending a court appearance.

While announcing the arrest to the media, the Iroquois County Sheriff’s Department also took the opportunity to remind car owners to lock their cars and remove the keys when their cars are unattended.


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