Metro-East News

SIUE student killed in car crash Sunday

An SIUE student was killed in a multi-vehicle crash Sunday afternoon on I-57 in Jefferson County.

Emma Caserotti, 18, of Mount Vernon was driving a 2016 Jeep southbound on Interstate 57 at about 12:56 p.m. Sunday when a northbound Mazda apparently crossed the center median into the southbound lanes and struck Caserotti’s Jeep head-on.

Caserotti died at the scene. Her passenger, longtime friend Tristen Sharp, was seriously injured and flown to a St. Louis area hospital for treatment.

The driver of the Mazda was Cole Stevens, 25, of Energy, Ill. He and his passenger, Octavia Marshall, 23, of Carbondale, both sustained minor injuries and were taken to a local hospital.

Southbound I-57 was closed for five hours Sunday as both vehicles were removed and the Illinois State Police Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit completed its examination of the scene. The investigation is ongoing, and law enforcement officials have not said whether charges will be filed. The case is under review by the Jefferson County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Caserotti had just finished her first year as a student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She was a member of the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority on campus, and made the SIUE Dean’s List both semesters. She was to enter the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences as a sophomore.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Emma Caserotti’s family and friends as they face this tragedy,” SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook said in a released statement. “It is heartbreaking to realize a young person’s potential won’t be fully realized. She truly will be missed by all of those who knew her at SIUE.”

Sharp, who was a longtime friend of Caserotti’s, had been injured in a previous accident; in 2015, she was hit by a car while crossing a street, according to news reports. Her family set up the “Tristen Tough” Facebook page at that time to update family and friends.

On that page, her family now states that Sharp has a head injury, though not as severe as the trauma from the 2015 accident. Her neck is fractured but in alignment, and she is in a medically induced coma while in critical condition.

Caserotti’s funeral arrangements are pending at Hughey Funeral Home in Mount Vernon.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald