Police Chief: Waterloo crash victim was driving erratically

News-DemocratJuly 1, 2013 

Police say a driver who died in a head-on collision with a semi truck Sunday in Waterloo was driving erratically shortly before the crash.

"We had some reports from witnesses of tailgating and weaving in and out of traffic. Witnesses said he followed people too closely and when he got into Waterloo he got into the southbound lane," Waterloo Police Chief Jim Trantham said. "And the accident occurred in an area that is a no-passing zone."

The crash may have been intentional, Trantham said.

"We have reason to believe he was talking to someone on the phone at the time of the crash and that he was contemplating suicide," Trantham said.

Trantham said police received a call at 12:52 p.m. that a Chevrolet Metro subcompact car had collided head-on with an empty 18-wheel grain truck on Illinois 3 near South Market Street.

Killed at the scene was Bryan Taylor, 37 of Waterloo. The semi driver, who was not identified and who was uninjured, jumped from his cab with a fire extinguisher to put out a small fire under the hood of Taylor's vehicle and tried to help Taylor.

Toxicology reports are pending and results will most likely not be ready for several weeks, Trantham said.

"It was obvious the small car was in the wrong lane," Trantham said when asked if the truck driver was cited in relation to the crash. "There was nothing he could do to prevent it. He was legall in his lane and the car just hit him head on."

The crash closed down Illinois 3 in both directions for about five and a half hours while the Metro-East Crash Assistance Team reconstructed the accident which left the semi jack-knifed in the ditch alongside the highway. Officers from Columbia, Granite City and Collinsville as well as Monroe County Sheriff's Department deputies and the Waterloo Fire Department assisted at the scene.

"We are still waiting for the report from the reconstructionists," Trantham said when asked about how fast Taylor was traveling.

Trantham said the report on the accident is still being compiled so he didn't have the details about how fast the Metro driver was going at the time of the collision.

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