State briefs 05/29/03

Thursday, May 29, 2003

IDOT plans informational meeting on proposed I-66

ULLIN, Ill. -- The public is invited to view exhibits and ask questions about a proposed Interstate 66 through Southern Illinois at a public information meeting set for 4 to 7 p.m. June 17 at Shawnee Community College in Ullin.

The exhibits will outline the project corridor and describe the area involved. They also will be available for viewing from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. until July 2 at the Illinois Department of Transportation District 9 Office, 2801 W. Murphysboro Road in Carbondale, Ill.

Written statements about the project will be accepted at the meeting and by mail until July 2. They should be addressed to IDOT, Beth Ponce, program development engineer, 2801 W. Murphysboro Road, Carbondale, Ill. 62901. They will become part of the official record.

For further information, contact Julie Klamm at (618) 549-2171 or TTY (618) 549-3507.

The meeting site is accessible to the disabled. Persons planning to attend who will need a sign language interpreter or other similar accommodations should notify Klamm at least three days prior to the meeting.

West Nile claims first Illinois bird this year

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- A dead crow found in western Illinois tested positive for West Nile virus, making it the first case statewide this year, public health officials said Wednesday.

The bird was found May 21 in Oquawka, a small town about 45 miles southwest of the Quad Cities.

"Based on last year's experience with the virus, finding a positive bird this spring was not unexpected," said Dr. Eric Whitaker, the state's public health director.

While there are no human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois this year, officials are warning the public to be cautious.

In 2002, Illinois led the nation with 884 cases and 64 deaths -- more than 20 percent of all deaths reported. One hundred of the state's 102 counties reported West Nile activity, including 53 counties with human cases.

Sikeston man sought in shooting case

SIKESTON, Mo. -- Officers with the Sikeston Department of Public Safety are looking for a man believed to be involved with the early morning shooting in Sikeston on Saturday that left one dead.

Officials are searching for Randy Lamon McKeller, 21, of Sikeston. He is described as a 5-foot-10-inch black male weighing approximately 130 pounds.

At approximately 2:15 a.m. Saturday, Trevor Neal was shot during a confrontation with McKeller and Justin Robinson. The shooting was discovered by Sikeston police when Neal was taken to Missouri Delta Medical Center. He died Sunday morning at the hospital.

Robinson was arrested late Saturday night and Tuesday was charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action. No bond was set and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 16.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sikeston DPS at (573) 471-1500. All communications will be confidential.

Truck driver dies after striking school bus

WENTZVILLE, Mo. -- A cement-mixer driver struck the back of a school bus just north of Wentzville Wednesday afternoon, dying in the collision.

Authorities said 13 students on board the bus were transported to area hospitals, but none of the injuries were considered life-threatening. Hospital officials said some were released soon afterward.

St. Charles County Ambulance District officials said the driver of the fully loaded cement truck rear-ended the school bus.

The bus was carrying students from Wentzville Middle School and Holt High School.

The accident happened on Highway A near the intersection of U.S. 61, about 40 miles west of St. Louis. The bus was stopped waiting to make a left turn into a subdivision, when it was struck by the cement truck.

-- From staff, wire reports

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