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The Illinois Department of Transportation will be holding a series of public meetings to answer questions and show the preferred alternate route for a four lane U.S. 51 through Marion and Fayette Counties.  

Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Greg Jamerson says these meetings are to show the results of the route developed after earlier public input sessions.  He says it would take a major issue for IDOT to change the route at this time.   The meetings will be the final public session on the highway plans.   

The proposed route through Marion County has the highway just east of the current U.S. 51 through the Patoka and Sandoval area, crossing the current highway south of Sandoval, and then traveling on the west side of Junction City and just west of the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia.  The new road would meet up with the current four lane U.S. 51 south of Wamac.

The first meeting will be Wednesday, November 5th, at the American Best Value Inn at 200 East Noleman in Centralia.  The following night a meeting will be held at the Ramsey Elementary School.  On Monday, November 10th, a meeting will be held at the Mother ofDolors Parish Center.  On Wednesday, November 12th, a meeting is scheduled at Sandoval Village Hall.  The final meeting will be on Thursday, November 13th, at the Patoka Civic Center.   Each of the meetings will be held from four to seven pm.  

Jamison says it is unclear when actual construction could begin because funding is not included in the current five year road program.  Construction on the new four lane US 51 is currently north of Pana and has been moving south towards Centralia.   

Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch says department investigators are working to learn the identity of a man with red and blue lights on his pickup truck that pulled over a motorist and said he was an off-duty police officer.  

The incident occurred Tuesday night along Richview Road near Woodlawn in Jefferson County.  Mulch says the video taken from the dash of the stopped vehicle unfortunately doesn't show the face of the man who was wearing a t-shirt and jeans.  However, he is confident after watching the video it is not any local officer.  

Mulch notes impersonating a police officer is a felony and he's especially concerned because of the police lighting on the truck.  The motorist who was stopped was told to watch his speed in the area, but the purported police officer then left without any further action.  
Mulch says there have been no other reports of the vehicle or people being stopped.  

A 21-year-old Ashley man formerly from Centralia has been sentenced to seven years in prison for home invasion, burglary and criminal damage to government supported property.  

Briton McCray had entered guilty pleas to all the charges in Marion County Court to get into the drug court program.  The sentencing hearing was set when he was removed from the program.  

McCray received a seven year prison term for crawling through a window to enter the home of Shanna Steward on North Park in Central City on March 2nd.  He was charged with striking Steward in the head with his hand and being armed with a knife.  

McCray received a five year prison term for the July 2013 burglary to the Poplar Place on North Poplar in Centralia.  The front door glass was found broken out to gain entry.  The broken cash register was located on the floor and a jug of money being collected by one of the bartenders was taken.   McCray was identified as a suspect through video surveillance of the business.  A towel McCray had over his face fell off during the burglary giving police a good change to see his face.  

McCray received three years in prison on a criminal damage to government property charge.  

All of the sentences will run concurrently.  McCray will have to serve two years mandatory supervised release when getting out of prison.  

A former Central City Grade School teacher has pleaded guilty in Marion County Court to a reduced charge of misdemeanor theft of another teacher's vicodin tablets.  

Aimee Evans of Norton Road was placed on two years probation, ordered to pay $334.50 in restitution to the other teacher Carol Carpenter and $202 in court costs.  She had originally been charged with felony theft for taking 20 vicodin pills and two pill boxes out of Carpenter's purse on multiple occasions last spring.  Evans was placed on administrative leave at the end of the last school year after Central City Police completed the investigation.  She later resigned. 

Marion County State's Attorney Matt Wilzbach agreed to the plea because Evan's attorney believes it might help her keep her pension.  Wilzbach says it is highly doubtful Evans could keep her teacher's license.  He says several factors led him to agree to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor.  They include Evans obtaining inpatient rehabilitation on her own following the arrest.  Several parents and other Central City teachers wrote letters of support because of the successful work she had done with special needs kids.  

Wilzbach notes the sentence would have been for probation regardless if it was the original felony count or reduced misdemeanor offense.   

Some of the thefts were reportedly captured on video surveillance after additional cameras were added to the school system when Carpenter reported someone was taking her pills.  

Evans is the wife of retired Centralia Police Chief Larry Evans.

A 39-year-old Centralia man was being held in the Marion County Jail on Thursday  for failure to register as a sex offender.  John Breeze of North Walnut Street was arrested by Centralia Police.

Three others posted bond on outstanding warrants and were released from the Marion County Jail.  50-year-old Robert Hays of Woodward School Road in Salem was arrested on a Jefferson County traffic warrant.  33-year-old Jason White of Ludwig Road in Iuka was picked up by State Police on a Marion County failure to appear in court warrant.  27-year-old Bryson Goostree of Oak Park Drive in Salem was arrested by Salem Police on an outstanding Fayette County warrant.  

28-year-old David White Junior of Crab Apple Drive in Flora posted $150 bond and was released after being arrested for driving on a suspended license.  

A 22-year-old Centralia man was arrested by Centralia Police Tuesday for alleged domestic battery and on an Illinois Department of Corrections warrant.  Police say they were called to an active domestic disturbance when they saw Dylan During of West Kell grab the arm of his mother and fight her efforts to get away.  During was taken to the Marion County Jail. 

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