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WIQI News Archives for 2023-12


 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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