Belleville police believe the 23-year-old driver of a Chevrolet Cruze was high on Aug. 17 when he crashed into a BMW motorcycle and killed both riders.
The man was headed west on South Belt West near State Street when he attempted to turn left onto State Street Road. He then struck the motorcyclists, who were traveling east on one bike.
Those motorcyclists — Mark D. Maedeker, 66, of Mascoutah, and Ellen L. Womack, 60, of Fairview Heights — died at separate hospitals only a short time after the crash.
The BND is not naming the 23-year-old driver, because formal charges have not been filed.
Witnesses at the crash reportedly told police the driver of the Chevrolet “appeared shaky and intoxicated,” Belleville police detective Robert Wallace wrote in a search warrant application.
“While speaking his eyes appeared watery and there was marked reddening of ... his eyes,” Wallace said of the man after he arrived at the crash scene.
The driver told police he had slowed down to yield to another vehicle before turning left and did not see the motorcycle at all.
Shortly after the accident, Wallace wrote, the man’s father arrived and identified himself as a lawyer.
He “insisted” his son take field sobriety tests. Wallace wrote that the 23-year-old man completed all three field tests unsuccessfully.
“Through my training and experience, I recognized these as signs of impairment due to cannabis,” Wallace wrote.
The man told Wallace, however, that he had not smoked cannabis in about a week. His father “demanded” officers give him a breathalyzer, however they requested blood and urine samples instead.
The 23-year-old agreed to give those samples and then told police he did not wish to speak to officers any further. He then revoked his consent for the tests at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
The search warrant filed by Wallace was to gain access to information from the Chevrolet’s event data recorder — which operates much like an airplane’s black box.
Wallace wrote that the man was arrested for aggravated DUI and reckless homicide. However, he was released from police custody shortly after and formal charges have not been filed.
Belleville Police Capt. John Moody said earlier this month that they were still investigating the accident.
Mike Gallagher, president of the local chapter of A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education, said Mark Maedeker and Ellen Womack had been on a date and were headed back to Womack’s car after having dinner with another couple in Millstadt. Maedecker and Womack were both widowers, having recently just started dating again.
“Mark did everything right, he wore his helmet all the time. ... He’s just greatly missed,” Gallagher said.