BELLEVILLE — Counselors will be on hand Tuesday at three Belleville schools that had students or staff involved in recent weather-related fatal crashes.
Belleville West High School, Ellis Elementary School and Emge Junior High School do not have classes Monday in recognition of Casimir Pulaski Day.
Four people died in two St. Clair County crashes Friday night when the day's snowfall had roads go from wet to slick. Icy roads were also to blame in a wreck that killed a father and son Friday in Washington County.
"It was a sad weekend," Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said of the multitude of crashes and the young lives they claimed.
The first crash occurred at 8:25 p.m. Friday 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. Friday on Illinois 15 near the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.
Thomas S. Hutchison, 51, of Belleville and his son, Zachary Hutchison, 9, died from injuries in a head-on collision on Old St. Louis Road.
The driver in the other vehicle was taken to an area hospital. Police did not release the driver's name or condition. A warrant for a blood draw was executed on Friday but, as of Sunday, police have not applied for charges.
Thomas Hutchison, who went by Scott, was a Belleville Boy Scout leader and Zachary Hutchison was a student at Ellis Elementary School.
Harmony Emge School District 175 Superintendent Pam Leonard the tragedy has touched the lives of every family in the district.
"The Hutchison family is part of the fabric of the Harmony-Emge School District," Leonard said. "Zachary was an exemplary student who demonstrated exceptional character and was a leader among his peers."
On Sunday, Leonard sent a recorded phone message to parents to inform them of the deaths of Thomas S. Hutchison and Zachary Hutchison.
And, wife and mother Angie Hutchison, a volunteer coordinator for the school district, and her son, Jacob Hutchison, an eighth-grader at Emge Junior High School, were critically injured in the crash.
Counselors will be available to help students who need to talk to someone about the accident and school staff plan to keep the school routine as normal as possible on Tuesday, Leonard said.
Robin Scott, 26, of Cahokia and her cousin, Jyieasha DeWalt, 17, died from injuries when their vehicle began spinning on Illinois 15 and struck a van in an oncoming lane.
Tieasha Greer, Scott's older sister, and Arlesa Dungy, DeWalt's mother, questioned why street crews did not treat roads on and along Illinois 15.
"They had not put any salt down and they had all day to treat the roads," Greer said. "The salt trucks came out after the accident. They put salt out for the ambulance and fire trucks to get through."
The roads were wet but OK during the day when there was more traffic and became slick when traffic slowed in the evening, Eckert said, so Belleville sent out crews about 8 p.m.
The city, however, does not cover the area where the crashes occurred, Eckert said. The Illinois Department of Transportation could not be reached for comment Sunday.
A vigil was held Saturday night for DeWalt, a student at Belleville West High school who participated in the track team and Harambee.
Mike Moore, an assistant coach for the girls track and field team, said he stopped by a vigil Saturday night that friends organized for "Jy."
"What I saw in Jy was she was a big time giver," Moore said. "She knew that being there for others, being a giver and serving were the most important things in life."
There are several races a year when the Belleville West track team needs a fourth person and Jy volunteered to train all season with the team for just a few races, Moore said.
"Jy said, 'As long as I can run a few times, as long as I can help the team, I'll be there for you," Moore said. "That big 'ol smile, we're going to miss this year."
Belleville West High School interim principal Richard Mertens said the school's crisis team will be in place to help students and staff deal with the second tragedy facing the Belleville West student body this year.
In January, Belleville West senior Stephen Zehner, 18, died in a crash in unincorporated Belleville. Megan Webb, a 15-year-old sophomore at Belleville West, was critically injured in the crash.
Also on Friday, Illinois State Police responded to a wreck that killed Derek Houle, 37, and his 9-year-old son.
Houle and his son were hit by another vehicle when they stepped outside their vehicle on Interstate 64 near Nashville.
Houle, his son Journey and his 12-year-old daughter got out after their vehicle got stuck in the median. The three were hit by another car sliding off the icy roads. Houle's daughter was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
Funeral information was not available Sunday.
Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/BNDBelleville. Reporter Carolyn P. Smith contributed information to the article.