Victims Identified In I-64 Construction Accident

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FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, IL (KTVI) - Charges are still pending in the case of an Illinois man who crashed into a construction zone Tuesday morning, but for the first time, some light is being shed on his side of the story.  Michael Jeter spoke off camera to FOX 2 on Wednesday.

Jeter lives on a tiny rural road outside of West Frankfort, Illinois.  That’s south of Mt. Vernon.   He lives on the same property as his parents and one thing the family will tell you is they are living a nightmare.

Jeter answered the door on crutches, with a brace on his leg.  He immediately told us his attorney didn’t want him doing interviews, but he did touch on a couple of details regarding the Tuesday morning crash.  

He tells us that he fell asleep at the wheel prior to accident.  In fact, he says, he doesn’t remember anything that happened prior to arriving at the hospital.  He did not say why he was in the area, or where he was coming from.

One direct question he did answer was about suspicions of driving under the influence.  An Illinois State Police document says the car will be held until alcohol can be ruled out as a cause of the crash.   Jeter says definitively that he was not drinking or on drugs when the crash occurred.  

Jeter did not answer questions about the victims, but his father, also speaking off camera described his son as broken up by what happened.  He quoted his son as saying he wished it would have been him instead of 38 year old Dennis Beard, the man who died in the crash.  

At Briteway Striping in New Baden, Illinois, where Beard worked along with the other injured men,  they say they aren’t quite ready to do interviews.  But in a statement they describe Dennis  Beard as, “a proud union laborer who will be truly missed.”

You can read that entire statement, and find information on a fund being set up for Beard’s family and the other victims by going here:
More:  One Dead & Four Injured In Construction Accident On I-64