Belleville man dies in Illinois 161 crash

A Belleville man died in a crash involving a tractor-trailer and a car on Illinois 161 Friday morning, authorities said.

Justin Heath, 43, of North Douglas Avenue in Belleville, died in the crash, St. Clair County Coroner Calvin Dye Sr. said.

The crash occurred in the 5800 block of Illinois 161 in the westbound lanes just west of Frank Scott Parkway. Dye said Heath was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:01 a.m.

First responders were called at 6:04 a.m. for a reported head-on traffic accident involving a 2003 Volkswagen Passat and a 2015 Freightliner tractor-trailer, according to a news release from the Belleville Police Department.

Heath was driving the Passat and the truck was driven by a 54-year-old who was taken to a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.

“There were no other passengers in either vehicle,” the news release stated. “Belleville Police traffic and crime scene investigators are conducting the accident reconstruction investigation.”

Carolyn P. Smith has worked for the Belleville News-Democrat for 18 years and currently covers breaking news in the Metro-East. She graduated from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri at Columbia and says news is in her DNA.
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Mike Koziatek joined the Belleville News-Democrat in 1998 as an assistant editor and is now a reporter covering the Belleville area. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and is from St. Louis.