Results of a blood test show that a Belleville man was sober when his car collided Aug. 17 with a motorcycle, killing both of the motorcyclist's riders.
Belleville Police initially believed that Nicholas Fiore, the driver of the Chevrolet Cruze, was high when he crashed into the BMW motorcycle. But results from a blood test show he was not intoxicated.
Fiore, then 23, was driving west on South Belt West near State Street when he attempted to turn left onto State Street Road. Fiore's car struck the motorcyclists, who were riding together on the motorcycle, eastbound on Illinois 13.
The motorcyclists were Mark D. Maedeker, 66, of Mascoutah, and Ellen L. Womack, 60, of Fairview Heights. They died at separate hospitals a short time after the crash.
A crash-reconstruction team was brought in to investigate. In reports obtained by the BND through a Freedom of Information Act request, police detailed what they found following the investigation.
Fiore told police he had not consumed any alcohol prior to the crash, which is also what his girlfriend told police in her statement.
However, other witnesses at the crash told police that Fiore “appeared shaky and intoxicated,” Belleville Police Detective Robert Wallace wrote in an application for a search warrant. Police were seeking a search warrant for blood samples.
While Fiore told police he had not consumed alcohol nor smoked marijuana that night, Detective Robert Rust wrote in a report that Fiore's father, who had come to the scene of the crash, "coached Fiore in what to say to police."
Rust said he witnessed this on the in-car video recording and added that Fiore told his father he had one drink about two to four hours prior to the crash.
"While talking about Fiore's consumption of alcohol (Fiore's father) whispers a couple of times," Rust wrote about what he saw on the recording. "Fiore's father advises him to submit to a breathalyzer if asked."
Police did obtain blood and urine samples from Fiore, and it was determined that his blood contained no alcohol or cannabinoids at the time of the crash. His urine did test positive for a cannabinoid, THC.
In telling officers what had happened, Fiore said he yielded for a car before turning left at the green light. He noted he did not see the motorcycle before attempting to turn left.
Fiore's girlfriend was in a car behind his Chevrolet Cruze when the accident happened.
"I heard the sound of a motorcycle engine and saw a motorcycle moving east on Route 13," she wrote in her statement to police. "I saw the individuals in the motorcycle being ejected from the bike."
The crash-reconstruction team determined Fiore's maximum speed upon impact with the motorcycle would have been 17.68 mph.
Maedecker, who was driving the motorcycle, had only caffeine in his system at the time of his death, according to toxicology reports.
“At this time my determination is that an unknown distraction caused Fiore to not perceive the BMW, thus striking it while turning left,” Wallace wrote in the crash-reconstruction report.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said his office is in regular contact with the attorneys representing the families of the motorcycle riders, and the investigation will remain open as long as the statute of limitation allows.
Court records indicate Fiore was not facing any citations or charges in connection with the crash as of Wednesday morning.
Womack's and Maedeker’s deaths happened in the wake of several serious motorcycle crashes in 2017:
▪ A 67-year-old operator of an Edwardsville towing company died Aug. 7 in a motorcycle crash at the intersection of Illinois 157 and Center Grove Road.
▪ A woman was critically injured on Aug. 4 when an SUV collided with the motorcycle on which she was a passenger near Mascoutah High School.
▪ A 41-year-old New Baden veteran died a week and a half after he crashed his motorcycle on Illinois 4 just south of Interstate 64.
▪ A 37-year-old Collinsville man died July 16 after losing control of his motorcycle and hitting a concrete planter in the 2200 block of Vandalia Street.
▪ A 26-year-old Nebraska man died July 10 on the Poplar Street Bridge after he fell off his motorcycle and was struck by a semitrailer.
▪ Also, an O’Fallon couple died in June when the motorcycle they were riding hit a deer and then an oncoming SUV in Minnesota.