Metro-East News

Family avoids head-on collision that sends boat flying

A New Baden family narrowly avoided a head-on collision when a passenger vehicle came into their lane Sunday evening near Mascoutah.

The family was returning from a day at Carlyle Lake and driving westbound on Illinois 158 around 6:10 p.m. when an eastbound sedan sideswiped their boat and turned their pickup truck around, breaking the trailer off its hitch and sending the boat careening down the county road where it came to a rest in the left lane.

The pickup stopped on the side of the road, but the sedan plowed through the ditch into a cornfield.

“I’m lucky to be alive,” Chianna Obernuefemann said after describing the scene.

Obernuefemann and her boyfriend Devin Phillips, who was driving, were in the pickup with their two young daughters, ages 6 and 2, at the time of the accident.

The girls were a little shaken by the incident but began feeling better when their grandmother came, Obernuefemann said.

Neither her family nor the driver of the sedan, who was suspected of drunk driving, were injured, according to Illinois State Police.

But, Phillips said, the situation could have been much worse. If the boat straps had held, then the force of the added weight on the truck could have been dangerous.

Obernuefemann’s family goes boating a few times a month, she said, but her father, Joe Obernuefemann, owns the vessel.

It’s about 25 years old, but it was well kept, and he’d bought it only a year ago, Joe Obernuefemann said. It was so new, in fact, that he hadn’t even gotten the decal of the boat’s name, “Peer Pressure,” which he often feels, he said, smiling.

Joe Obernuefemann said he’s owned boats for years, but Peer Pressure was the first one he’d bought insurance for. He even built a garage for it, but he didn’t know how he’d spend the insurance money after he got it.

“I’m all boated out,” he said.

Casey Bischel: 618-239-2655, @CaseyBischel