Police were checking a report of a drunken driver about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when the suspect's van hit and killed a pedestrian on Illinois 157, Caseyville Police Chief Jose Alvarez said.
The male driver of the white 1996 Dodge van was injured and taken to a local hospital, Alvarez said. His legs and ankles were hurt, but the damage was not life threatening. The van is registered to a woman from Columbia, according to the Illinois Secretary of State records.
The victim was a 29-year-old man from Caseyville. His name was not released pending notification of his family.
"The vehicle hit him from behind. He didn't even see it coming," Alvarez said.
The white van was moving erratically and resulted in an Illinois State Police broadcast. Minutes later Caseyville Police got the call about the pedestrian being hit at 1:31 p.m.
The Dodge van was heading south on Illinois 157 when it went off the highway, hit the pedestrian on the highway's shoulder and came to rest about 100 yards away in some trees and brush. The victim landed in some brush 151 feet from where he was hit. The impact knocked him out of his shoes, which remained on the shoulder of the highway. A baseball cap and wallet were also alongside the highway, marked by police.
St. Clair County Deputy Coroner Dean Darnall pronounced the victim dead at 2:20 p.m.
One lane was closed to traffic as police reconstructed the accident. Toxicology tests will be conducted, Alvarez said.
Caseyville police, Illinois State Police and firefighters were on Illinois 157 between St. Clair Avenue and Interstate 64 working the crash scene.
Twenty-five people were struck and killed by vehicles between 2008 and 2012 in St. Clair County, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records.
About 37 percent of all traffic fatalities in the county during that 5-year span involved a driver impaired by alcohol -- 54 of the 147 people killed, according to federal records.
No charges had been issued against the driver as of press time, but Alvarez said he's been in contact with the St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office.