Two crashes on icy St. Clair County roads claimed four lives Friday: a Belleville Boy Scout leader and his 9-year-old son and a Cahokia businesswoman and her cousin, a junior at Belleville West High School.
The first crash occurred at 8:25 p.m. on Old St. Louis Road where it crosses Illinois 15 in Belleville and the second crash occurred just a little more than a mile away at 9:09 p.m. on Illinois 15 near the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, police said. Several other crashes were reported Friday night after roads turned slick. Snow flurries had fallen throughout the day.
St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone released the names of the victims:
* Thomas S. Hutchison, 51, of Belleville and his son, Zachary Hutchison, 9, died from injuries in the Old St. Louis Road crash.
* Robin Scott, 26, of Cahokia and her cousin, Jyieasha DeWalt, 17, died from injuries in the Illinois 15 crash.
Hutchison was pronounced dead at 9:30 p.m. at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville and his son was pronounced dead at 9:17 p.m. at Memorial Hospital.
They both suffered internal injuries, Stone said.
They were killed in a two-car crash that trapped occupants in both vehicles, according to a news release from Belleville Police Capt. Don Sax.
A white Chevrolet minivan with four occupants, including the father and son who were killed, and a black Toyota FJ Cruiser with one occupant crashed head-on, Sax said.
The two remaining occupants in the minivan and the driver of the Toyota were taken to area hospitals, Sax said. The statement did not list the condition of the injured; no further details on their conditions were released Saturday.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said that his office executed a search warrant Friday for a blood draw from the suspect in connection to the double-fatal crash on Old St. Louis Road. But, as of Saturday afternoon, the Belleville Police Department had not made a formal application for charges.
Zachary was a student at Ellis Elementary School in Belleville in the Harmony-Emge School District 175. Thomas Hutchison, who went by Scott, was a Boy Scout leader. He and his wife, Angie, performed in the Fifth House Band.
Hutchison was known as an exuberant leader in the Scouts.
"They were just so helpful and nice all the time. Amazing family," said Angie Barry, of Belleville, who has a son who was involved in Scouting with the Hutchisons. "They did so much for everybody."
She described Zachary as "an awesome boy, so fun and energetic."
Harmony-Emge Superintendent Pam Leonard released the following statement:
"The Hutchison family is part of the fabric of the Harmony-Emge School District. Zachary was an exemplary student who demonstrated exceptional character and was a leader among his peers. This tragedy has touched the lives of every family in our district. Our administrative team and social workers will have a plan in place to help students with their feelings of grief when they return to school on Tuesday. We have also activated the Crisis Response group for our area and we will have additional social workers available at both Ellis and Emge Schools."
Classes were not scheduled for Monday in recognition of Casimir Pulaski Day.
Second fatal crash
Scott was pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m. at Memorial Hospital in Belleville and Jyieasha was pronounced dead at 10:12 p.m. at the scene of the crash, Stone said.
This crash happened on Illinois 15 near the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, when a 2002 Dodge Stratus heading west began spinning. The vehicle veered into the oncoming lane and struck a 2010 Ford van, according to Illinois State Police.
Scott was driving the Dodge and Jyieasha was a passenger.
Stone said they died of head and chest injuries.
The driver of the van, 34-year-old Doraine C. Vance, of St. Louis, and a passenger in the van, 52-year-old Randy Kish, of Venedy, received minor injuries and were treated at Memorial Hospital.
Tieasha Greer, Scott's older sister said she was "fun loving, very outspoken and didn't hold anything on her mind."
Arlesa Dungy, Jyieasha's mother and Scott's aunt, said Scott recently turned her life around and had given herself to God.
Scott had just opened an apparel and jewelry business Friday in St. Louis County called Beyond Beautiful Boutique. Family members hope to keep the business open.
Dungy said: "She loved to shop. I am going to remember her by shopping and looking pretty. She and Jyieasha were very girly."
Just before the crash, Scott and Jyieasha had been visiting relatives being treated at Memorial Hospital.
"Jyieasha was very kindhearted and caring," Dungy said. "She was so loving. When she walked into a room, she lit it up with her personality and smile."
Jyieasha had plans to join the Air Force and become a veterinarian.
She ran track, played basketball and participated in Harambee and drama.
"I don't know what I am going to do," Dungy said. "She was my youngest child. Maybe I will get a dog or something in her memory. She loved animals. I don't know. Everything happened so quick. She is gone. I'm going to miss her and Robin very much."