• Smoke coming from the Lloyd Williams home at 1210 Patriot Road that sustained heavy damage in Friday afternoon fire.
    Photo by Tim Ferguson

    A home east of Centralia received heavy fire damage to one room and heavy smoke damage throughout on Friday afternoon.

    Centralia Fire Protection District Chief Greg Earle says no one was home at the Lloyd Williams home at 1210 Patriot Road near the Woods Lane intersection when a neighbor noticed smoke pouring from the home. He reports firemen were able to break out a window to the living room where the fire was burning and got a quick knockdown. Earle says it appears the fire had burned long enough it had used up a large amount of the oxygen which helped keep it from spreading further.

    The State Fire Marshals office has been called in to investigate the cause of the fire which is currently listed as undetermined.

    Centralia Fire Protection District Firemen received mutual aid assistance from Kell and Odin Firemen. Both brought tankers to the scene.

    The fire call came in at 12:51 Friday afternoon and was on the scene about two hours.

    Firemen broke out a living room window to gain access to the fire that was mostly confined to the one room. However, there was heavy smoke damage throughout the home.
    Photo by Tim Ferguson
  • Three area residents were injured in a crash on Illinois Route 161 at Summerfield South Road near Mascoutah early Friday morning.

    State Police are not releasing the names of the three involved in the single-vehicle crash, but identify the driver as a 26-year-old Mt. Vernon man and the passengers as a 26-year-old female from Salem and a 26-year-old male from Dix.

    According to the preliminary investigation, the driver was traveling eastbound when he ran off the roadway to the right and rolled over several times. The front seat passenger was ejected from the vehicle and transported to Barnes Jewish Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The driver and back seat passenger had to be extricated from the vehicle.

    The driver was transported to St. Louis University Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The back seat passenger was transported to Memorial East Hospital in serious condition.

    The crash remains under investigation by Illinois State Police. It was reported at 3:27 Friday morning.

  • Type and color of car being sought in Washington County Fatal Hit and Run.
    State Police

    State Police are asking for the public's help in locating a vehicle involved in a fatal hit and run crash on Interstate 64 in Washington County on January fifth. The crash killed a 93-year-old World War II veteran Ervin Goeden of Omaha, Nebraska, and caused serious injury to his wife Patricia.

    The vehicle that crashed into them and then left the scene is described as a 2007 Cadillac CTS. The Cadillac will likely have damage to the rear passenger side and contain silver paint transfer in the damaged area.

    Witnesses reported that the Cadillac had tinted windows at the time of the crash. The crash occurred around five pm on January fifth

    If you have any information about the crash or the whereabouts of the 2007 black Cadillac CTS, you are asked to contact ISP Zone 7 investigations at 618.542.1129.

    The family is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the hit-and-run driver.

  • Drew Peterson

    CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois Supreme Court has again upheld the murder conviction of former Chicago-area police officer Drew Peterson in the 2004 drowning death of his third wife.

    The court on Friday upheld its September decision rejecting the argument from Peterson's attorneys that it was improper to use hearsay testimony to convict Peterson in 2012. Peterson's attorneys in November asked the high court to reconsider.

    Peterson's attorney, Steven Greenberg, said Friday that they would "keep on appealing."

    The 64-year-old Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police officer, is serving a 38-year sentence for Kathleen Savio's death and another 40-year sentence after being convicted of plotting to kill the prosecutor in the case. Peterson is also a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, but has not been charged.

  • State Treasurer Michael Frerichs

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs says families in the state that have college savings plans won't get a break on their state taxes if they use those accounts to pay for private K-12 tuition.

    Frerichs warns that families with Bright Start or Bright Directions college savings plans, who attempt to claim that deduction, could potentially face a tax penalty from the state.

    The Journal Star reports that the savings programs aim to incentivize taxpayers to put money aside for college tuition.

    The Illinois Department of Revenue agrees with Frerichs' analysis, saying the state plans to "only allow expenditures on post-secondary education without penalty."

    Frerichs says that there are more than 450,000 accounts in Illinois, with about $9 billion invested in them.