SOUTH ROXANA, IL - A fiery crash Thursday morning involving a pick-up truck and a Pontoon Beach police officer kills the pickup driver and seriously injures the officer. The head-on fiery collision happened on Route 111 in South Roxana near New Poag Road at about 8:10am. The highway in that area was closed into the afternoon.
Illinois state police investigators say they have multiple witnesses to the crash. One witness, who was driving south on 111, says the pickup passed her then went back into the southbound lane of 111. Then the witness tells police that for some reason the pick-up truck swerved back into the northbound lane of 111 and slammed head-on into the police cruiser. The crash happened basically at the top of an overpass. We`re told both vehicles caught fire.
Investigators say the pickup truck driver, identified as Daniel E. Bell, 33 of South Roxana, was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities say he was at fault in the crash.
The officer was flown by medical helicopter to a local hospital where he is listed in serious condition. The officer's name hasn`t been released, but we know he is 43-years-old and from Bethalto. He has been on the Pontoon Beach force for one year. Before that he was a South Roxana police officer for five years.
Illinois State Police Spokesperson Calvin Dye says the officer had to be cut out of the vehicle but that he was talking at the scene. Dye says he is also talking at the hospital but has severe leg and facial injuries.
South Roxana`s Mayor says the injured officer was beloved during his time there.
Images from the scene of the accident: