A 16-year-old male was pronounced dead at an accident scene Monday following what witnesses said was a police chase in East St. Louis.
Police, however, are not confirming that a police chase was under way prior to the crash.
East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Hubbard said the teen fled East St. Louis police on Monday, crashed into a utility pole and died.
However, Hubbard said that is all the information he’s been able to gather. Hubbard said he could not confirm that the police were chasing the young driver.
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St. Clair County Deputy Coroner Danny Haskenhoff said the victim was Kychaun Hines, of East St. Louis. Haskenhoff pronounced him dead at 3:12 p.m. at the scene.
Crime scene investigators with the Illinois State Police arrived at the scene and began their investigation at 4:02 p.m.
Calvin Dye Jr., the public information officer for the Illinois State Police, said the ISP is the lead investigating agency on the crash. He said they are trying to determine whether police were chasing the vehicle as several witnesses at the scene said. The investigation could take days or weeks, Dye said.
The accident happened near 18th Street and Baugh Avenue. Hubbard confirmed that the driver of the white Pontiac that slammed into a tree and utility pole had been stopped by police prior to the crash. But, as the police approached him, he sped off at a high rate of speed, according to Hubbard.
At the scene Monday evening, Hubbard told a News-Democrat reporter the accident that claimed the young driver’s life occurred at 2:30 p.m. in the 1800 block of Parsons Place.
Hubbard confirmed that the teenage driver died in the crash.
The mangled white Pontiac’s windows were popped out. The doors front and back on both sides were crushed in. Blood stains were visible on the driver’s door. Two white towels were on the ground — one on the right side and one on the left side — that witnesses said were used to cover up evidence from the crash. The front bumper lay in the street, just feet in front of the vehicle. Broken glass particles were scattered around the vehicle.
A tree trunk lay near the passenger side of the car and an Ameren utility pole, with the light still attached, lay between the driver’s and passenger door.
The 1800 block of Parsons Place was blocked off by police and emergency vehicles, and yellow crime scene tape. The loud boom that came from the car slamming into the tree and utility pole immediately drew a large crowd.
Dye said police investigators are sorting through information to determine what is fact and what is fiction.
“We have several witnesses that we are talking to,” he said. “It will take a while to talk to them all and to do a police investigation.”