Fairview Heights teenager dies after car accident near Belleville

What to do if you’ve been in a car accident

Be prepared when you hit the road. Here are some quick tips on what to do if you are in a car accident.
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Be prepared when you hit the road. Here are some quick tips on what to do if you are in a car accident.

A Fairview Heights teenager has died from his injuries in a car crash Tuesday night near Belleville.

Kevin Patterson, 15, was a passenger in the front seat of a car on Lebanon Avenue when it was rear ended by a truck. The car then crashed through a fence and into a tree, according to the St. Clair Sheriff’s Department. Kevin Patterson later died at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon.

The crash was reported at about 10:30 p.m. near the 2100 block of Lebanon Avenue between Belleville and Shiloh, where the speed limit is 40 mph. A 2018 Chevrolet Malibu, driven by an 18-year-old from Fairview Heights with three juvenile passengers including Kevin, had run off the north side of the road where it went through a fence and struck a tree in the backyard of 11 Las Olas Drive.

The driver, K’Vion Harrold of Fairview Heights, and Kevin were taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon.

The St. Clair Sheriff’s Department said the Malibu had been struck from behind by a 2008 Dodge Ram truck, which left the scene. That truck was later found and the 17-year-old boy from Belleville who was driving the truck is in custody.

The 16-year-old girl with him was released, police said.

The crash is still under investigation and, on Thursday morning, the driver of the truck was released from police custody. According to an updated news release from the sheriff’s department, he is not considered a flight risk.

Patterson was a high school student at East St. Louis High School. Arthur R. Culver, the superintendent of District 189, said school crisis teams were mobilized on Wednesday morning and would continue to provide grief support as needed.

“We lost one of our young high school students in a car accident last night,” Culver said in a statement to the BND Wednesday night. “It is a deep tragedy that this life was cut short. Our sincere sympathies go out to his family, teachers, friends and fellow students.”

Capt. Bruce Fleshren, of the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, said the investigation should be complete by the end of the week.

Reporter Mary Cooley follows the crimes and court goings-on in the metro-east; she has a special affinity for the oddities that make life in Southern Illinois interesting. Mary has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia and previously worked as a copy editor at newspapers in the Southeast.