Driver charged with reckless homicide in fatal Route 3 crash

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COLUMBIA, Ill. – The family of a Columbia, Illinois woman is speaking out after learning a man may have been looking at his phone when he ran a red light and killed their loved one.

According to police, Michael Vanderschans of Winfield was looking at the GPS on his phone when he drove through a red light in his Ford F-150 and slammed into Stacie Thoma’s car.

“It’s kind of brought a lot of the emotions that were near the beginning of the accident when we lost her to the surface again,” said Stephanie Duvall, Stacie’s sister.

Vanderschans was the first person charged in Monroe County with reckless homicide involving a motor vehicle and aggravated unlawful use of an electronic communications device.

“First, I wish I had a neon sign … that said, ‘Put your phone down.’ Second, people be aware – quit distracting driving,” said Bob Thoma, Stacie’s father.

The Republic-Times in Monroe County reported Vanderschans turned himself in Thursday and posted his $50,000 bond the same day. He’s due back in court next Thursday morning.

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