Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Suspect arrested after girl, 6, killed, others hurt in hit-and-run crash


Herald-Whig Staff Writer

HAMILTON, Ill. -- Authorities are investigating a hit-and-run traffic crash Monday morning on Ill. 96 just south of Hamilton that killed a 6-year-old girl and injured several others.

The Illinois State Police said a suspect was arrested Monday night and taken into custody.

Witnesses said a trailer being towed by a pickup driven by Gary L. Mason, 42, of Argyle, Iowa, broke free, crossed the center line and struck a vehicle driven by Lora L. Smajlovic, 30, of Hamilton.

The crash took place on Ill. 96 by the railroad tracks about a mile south of U.S. 136. Four other passengers in the Smajlovic car suffered injuries. Police did not release the name of the 6-year-old.

Others suffering minor injuries in the Smajlovic vehicle were Ann Leeper, 56, of Hamilton, and girls ages 2 and 11. Leeper and the 2-year-old were taken to Memorial Hospital in Carthage, and the 11-year-old was taken to Blessing Hospital in Quincy.

Witnesses said the truck turned around after the accident, drove by the damaged car and then left the scene. Troopers said Mason was not injured and was later found in Lee County, Iowa.

Mason was arrested for leaving the scene of the accident and is lodged in the Hancock County Jail in Carthage.

The crash took place at 11:10 a.m. Monday. The highway was closed for several hours and traffic rerouted to Tower Road.

-- rhart@whig.com/221-3370

No comments: