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St. Clair County family grieves for 2 after Mascoutah crash

A single driving mistake can alter the lives of drivers and car accident victims in a fraction of a second. Disabling, permanent injuries and wrongful deaths are caused by offenses as serious as drunk driving, speeding and aggressive behavior or as careless as driver inattentiveness due to distractions.

Members of two generations of the same family were killed recently in St. Clair County near Mascoutah.

A grandfather, who family members say may have been helping his grandson shop for a car, died from severe injuries at the scene of the midday crash.

The other victim was the driver, one of the grandfather's seven children, on leave from service in the U.S. Navy. Officials said the 22-year-old male was transported by medical helicopter to St. Louis University Hospital, where he died of accident injuries later the same day.

The accident happened around noon, as the grandson was traveling with his 80-year-old grandfather through an intersection along Illinois 161. The eastbound Buick Roadmaster was hit by a Nissan Altima that entered the roadway from southbound Illinois 4.

Mascoutah police said the impact violently drove the Buick into a utility pole, smashed the passenger side and immediately killed the Belleville grandfather sitting next to his grandson. The St. Clair County coroner determined the elderly accident victim suffered traumatic injuries to his head and chest.

A 44-year-old Pinckneyville woman was behind the wheel of the Altima. Paramedics took her to Belleville's St. Elizabeth's Hospital where the driver was treated for minor injuries.

Investigators from the Mascoutah Police Department spoke with witnesses who said they saw the collision. Some eyewitness accounts of the crash say the Nissan blew through a red light at the Illinois 161 intersection. Blame for the crash may become formalized pending an ongoing investigation.

Police are considering filing charges against the Altima driver, but have come to no final conclusions about the double-fatal accident.

Source: bnd.com, "Grandfather, grandson killed in two-car crash near Mascoutah," Jennifer A. Bowen and Kevin Bersett, March 28, 2012

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