Metro-East News

Top BND videos: Deputy escorted home after death from cancer

Watch the most popular videos on this week:

▪  Dozens of squad cars carrying officers from around the metro-east followed “a gentleman” one last time — to escort his body from Barnes Hospital in St. Louis to Fairview Heights.

Deputy Eric Browder, who inspired “Browder’s Brigade,” died Wednesday afternoon after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 43, and had served as a corrections officer for nine years with the St. Clair Sheriff’s Department.

▪  An historic inn along the shoulder of Route 66 in Mitchell is believed to be a total loss after a Sunday fire.

George Miller, assistant chief of the Mitchell Fire Department, said Apple Valley Motel, which is believed to have been built in 1949, is beyond repair.

▪  A bomb threat Friday against Smokey Bones restaurant in Fairview Heights was most likely called in by a prankster, a spokesman for the restaurant chain said.

Rick Van Warner said the restaurant received the call around 10:15 a.m. Friday morning when employees were setting up for lunch.

Fairview Heights Police responded with four or five cars, Van Warner said, and one bomb-sniffing dog.

▪  Randy McCallum Jr., convicted in February of a double murder, appeared in court shackled at the waist and feet and flanked by two state prison guards Thursday afternoon to challenge his sentence: two natural life terms in prison.

St. Clair County Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf denied a motion by public defender Rick Roustio to drop the consecutive life terms in favor of a single life sentence. The judge let his previous sentencing decision stand.

And here’s one you might have missed:

▪  U.S. Army veteran Ryan Marler, of O’Fallon, creates unique American flag wall hangings made of painted and charred wood slats. He made the first one for himself in April.

One version has hidden storage areas, one rectangular — the length of the flag — and the other square, behind the stars. Buyers have been using them to store a short rifle or shotgun.