Metro-East News

Breese police arrest man accused of driving through playground fence, crashing into slide

Breese police arrested a man accused of driving through a fence and crashing into equipment at an all-inclusive playground Wednesday afternoon.

Police said Spencer Bagwell, 20, told police he was driving on North Walnut at about 4:10 p.m. when his brakes went out. He said he swerved to miss a car and collided with a parked vehicle that knocked him into Hannah’s Playground, where he went through the fence and up a slide, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage. He then drove out of the play area and continued driving down the street, according to police.

Police were called by a witness, and an officer in the area apprehended him almost immediately, Breese Police Chief Robert Fix said.

Bagwell was charged with driving on a suspended driver’s license, operating an uninsured vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident and driving a vehicle with no brakes.

Bagwell was driving a black 2003 Oldmobile Alero, which had heavy damage and caused more than $500 of damage to the other car he struck, a 2008 Chevrolet Impala.

No one was injured during the crash.

Michael Berndsen, a paramedic whose daughter inspired the construction of the playground, said the area had been full of children and parents just an hour before, but it had completely emptied by the time the car came through the fence.

Bernsden said he doesn’t yet know the extent of the damage, but the slide, which was totaled in the crash, cost at least $15,000.

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6