Metro-East News

Woman sues Centreville, officer after high-speed crash kills her son

A woman is suing Centreville and one of its police officers for the death of a Touchette Regional Hospital security guard killed in a traffic crash.

Tonna Hester, the mother of Richard Hester, filed the suit in St. Clair County after the Oct. 22 crash with Centreville Police Officer Vincent Davis.

Hester was driving a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria west on Bond Avenue near 57th Street in Centreville when he was struck by a 2010 Dodge Charger used as a Centreville patrol car and driven by Officer Vincent Davis.

Davis was heading to a shots-fired call in the area when the crash occurred. Hester was in front of Davis’ squad car when Hester slowed down and the officer went into the eastbound lane to pass just as Hester’s car made a left turn into the hospital’s entrance. The impact of the collision sent Hester’s car into a utility pole. Hester was later pronounced dead.

Davis suffered minor injuries.

Police reports stated that Davis’ lights and sirens were on, but the lawsuit contends Davis “failed to activate his sirens” and “failed to properly active his emergency lights” and drove the squad car at an “outrageously high and excessive rate of speed.”

“That in doing all of these actions herein mentioned … Vincent Davis, had an utter indifference to and/or a conscious disregard for the safety of (Hester),” states the complaint filed last month by Tonna Hester’s lawyer Patrick Johnston.

Neither Johnston nor Centreville Mayor Maurius Jackson could immediately be reached for comment.

Illinois State Police investigated the crash, but their report was not immediately available.

Tonna Hester and her daughter, Stephanie, seek in excess of $50,000 on each of the 11 counts of the complaint.

The case is next expected to be in court on July 13 for a status conference before St. Clair County Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson.

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