The 54-year-old New Athens man accused of driving the wrong way on Illinois 15 and causing a crash that killed two men is asking the court to return his vehicle full of camping equipment and other property, according to court records.
Kevin G. Helfrich’s GMC Sierra is still in the hands of Belleville police, his attorney John Baricevic wrote in a motion filed earlier this month. In that truck, Baricevic wrote, is “camping equipment, fishing gear, and other personal property.”
The attorney said police had already collected the evidence and photos they need pertaining to the criminal case — so there is no need to hold the vehicle and its contents any longer. Baricevic requested police hand the property over to Helfrich’s wife, with state officials overseeing the transfer.
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The judge has not issued an order regarding the motion, however. Helfrich’s next scheduled court date is Jan. 29.
He was charged following a crash on Illinois 15 the night of July 8. A witness told police she was driving east when Helfrich’s GMC Sierra passed her car in the other eastbound lane — traveling west. Shortly afterward, the truck struck a a 2017 Kia Forte head-on behind her.
In a search warrant released in October, investigators stated they found cold cans of Stag beer and prescription pill bottles in Helfrich’s truck after the crash.
In addition to a felony charge of aggravated DUI resulting in death, Helfrich faces two felony counts of reckless homicide in connection with the deaths of Bannister and Harton.
The July DUI charge was the fifth time Helfrich has been charged with drunken driving in St. Clair County.
He has one other pending DUI case, filed in October 2016. Helfrich had a valid license at the time of the July crash because of errors on a police report.
The man was taken into custody Oct. 17 on a $750,000 bail. Baricevic filed a motion asking that either his bail be reduced or that he be released on house arrest via a recognizance bond because the man was “confined to a wheelchair” and needed extensive medical attention.
Helfrich was released on a recognizance bond Nov. 21.