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Vehicle strikes bystanders at suburban auto auction, 15 hurt

Thursday, March 20, 2008

CRESTWOOD, Ill. -- An out-of-control sport utility vehicle plowed into a crowd at a suburban Chicago auto auction Wednesday, injuring 15 people, police said.

Five of the victims were in critical condition Wednesday evening with injuries that included a crushed chest and legs, said Crestwood police chief Tim Sulikowski. Two firefighters also were hurt while helping victims, he said.

"It was pandemonium" as rescue workers made their way through several hundred people who were leaving or helping the injured at the Tri-State Auto Auction, said Crestwood fire chief Jon Bruce.

"People were screaming, moaning, laying on the ground," auction shopper Tom Schroeder told the Chicago Tribune. "Employees were running around telling people not to move."

The incident occurred shortly before 11:45 a.m., when an employee driving a Range Rover into the auction building lost control of the vehicle. It suddenly sped up, hit a group of bystanders and struck a minivan before going through a doorway and hitting another group of people.

Bruce said it was not yet clear what caused the employee to lose control.

A woman who answered the phone at the auction house early Wednesday afternoon said the business was "not giving out any information right now."

The company's Web site shows a large, open auction site where bidders can walk among vehicles for sale.

Crews from 15 other cities responded to the call, Bruce said.

One firefighter's injury was exposure "to large amounts of blood," considered hazardous because of the possibility of infection, he said.

The other firefighter suffered a back injury while lifting a patient.

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Josh, on behalf of everyone around Southeast Missouri, I'm sorry. I'm sorry you had to go through these last 15 years. I'm sorry the justice system failed you. I'm sorry our prosecutor was more interested in making a name than seeking the truth.

I'm sorry for your Mom. I can't imagine what she went through with you. I'm sorry we can't turn back the clock for you. Nobody could blame you if you left Missouri to start over somewhere else. From the arresting officer, through the past sheriff down through the jurors, we all failed you and I apologize for that. Please accept this apology and take your new-found freedom and treasure it. May you have a long life ahead of you and this just becomes a bump in the road. You're a fine young man, full of potential. Make your own luck. The harder you work, the luckier you get.

-- Posted by Missourian on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 5:51 AM

Josh, I spent a lot of time keeping up with this news story convinced you had nothing to do with the murder. To this day I am still convinced you had nothing to do with it and I am glad to see finally a justice system see's that it is not the greatest. I am fortunate enough to live close to Jeff. City and heard more than alot of the S.E. Missourians did and have to say. I was so proude to hear of your exoneration and and even prouder to hear that you had walked out of JCCC a free man. My wife and I wish you the very best and may God bless the road you walk on now!

-- Posted by TravisSheppard on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 6:11 AM

Josh I am so happy for you and your family. I am praying for you. Even though I have never met you and may never get to this side of heaven I hope for the best for you. As someone that lives and has lived all my life in Missouri, I know that this state owes you a lot. You can never recover the years that were lost, but make the best of the years you have left. God bless

-- Posted by Cardsfan on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 10:48 AM

The news articles keep using the word "innocent". Was he found innocent or not guilty. There is a difference.

-- Posted by JD420 on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 10:59 AM

First, I have lived in Scott Co. all my life and I know what kind of justice you get here. Why do you think that attorneys from other areas of the state smirk and roll their eyes when you tell them you got in some kind of legal trouble in Scott County?

In other words, Josh, you got screwed! From the moment that this awful crime happened, to the moment of your wrongful identification and incarceration, you had been screwed! However, someone finally had the guts to say "this is wrong-he is innocent! Let him go, NOW!"

Good luck and God Bless the rest of your life.

Second, I have never been a fan of Gary/John Rust's conservative leaning, pro-Rush Limbaugh newspaper, but, I believe that Bridget DiCosmo should be nominated for a Pulitzer prize for her awesome coverage of this story! You did a great job and without your journalistic investigative style Josh Kezer may not have gotten his fair shake and ultimate release and new lease on life. Kudos, Bridget, kudos!

-- Posted by sccynic on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 11:31 AM

I am also wanting to applaud Bridget on her job!!! I am excited to see he is making his way out into the world once again! Thank You Bridget! I thought it was shady how the KFVS-12 News said nothing at all the whole time this has been going on until now. Go Figure they are always LATE Breaking any kind of news. Go Bridget!! You deserve a Big RAISE!

-- Posted by enough_is_enough on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 12:16 PM

It is really sad that Josh lost 17 years of his life.

It makes you wonder how many people in prison that are innocent. What a terrible thing!! God Bless You Josh,and just live life slowly now. YOU ARE A FREE MAN!! We all Love you very much, and there will be alot of celebration for you!!!

-- Posted by Aunt_M.K.W. on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 12:27 PM


As to the difference between “innocent” and “not guilty”, I am sure that an attorney might be able to explain and in some cases where someone is found “not guilty” by reason of some procedural error by the court or failure to Mirandize someone at the time of arrest or something along those lines one might be correct in saying that someone was not found “innocent”, they just were found “not guilty”. Oftentimes this is a distinction without a difference because in the criminal justice system, you must be considered “innocent” until found “guilty”. During an appeals process the Court can render several different opinions including nullifying the original verdict such as was done in this case thus returning him to the status he was before the original “conviction”. The judge seemed pretty clear in his opinion in rendering an opinion that Joshua Kezer is innocent and regardless of any legalistic tap dancing that one could engage in, based on the information presented, to view Joshua Kezer as anything less than such is yet another injustice. I can’t even imagine what this young man has gone through and hope he can make a life for himself and his family.

Just my opinion for what it is worth.

-- Posted by Red_Rhino on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 12:42 PM

I don't know all the details of this case, but it appears that not enough evidence of guilt was presented in the trial. Therefore, he is "not guilty". To me, the classification of innocent belongs to those who could not possibly have committed the crime. I'm not sure that has been determined. He goes free because there was not enough evidence.

-- Posted by JD420 on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 1:03 PM

JD, the article says the judge proclaimed "actual innocence". I would say that means he was found INNOCENT of the crime. Not just "not guilty." It was pretty clear.

-- Posted by JHS on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 1:23 PM

josh i am so so sorry u had to suffer by the hands of the scott county prosecuting attorney, they are always eager to rush to judgement. I know this to be true because they are doing my son the same way. they don't care about evidence, they just want a conviction to make them look good. the truth means nothing to them. i wish you the best in life, and i hope you sue the hell out of them

-- Posted by breathofanangel on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 1:40 PM

In case you all haven't heard practically every murderer in prison proclaims they are not guilty. And if you investigated every case 17 years after the fact you would probably find a lot of witnesses that might hesitate to repeat their stories.

I'm sort of surprised that no one has called this case what it really is...and that is not an innocent man being set free. This is a story of a Sheriff that has a bone to pick with a former Sheriff and used this case to "pick the bone".

The High Sheriff of Scott County seems to strongly dislike the former Sheriff Bill Ferrill. Bill Ferrill has made no secret that he was very proud of this case and clearly the new sheriff focused on this as an attempt to undermine Bill's work.

I am not convinced justice has been done...maybe it has, only a couple of people know (the victim and the murderer). But clearly the new High Sheriff takes more satisfaction destroying Bill than freeing a convict he could care less about.

Don't be sheep people!

-- Posted by PI on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 1:44 PM

Come on, what about the DNA not linking Kezer. Whose DNA was under her fingernails? What about the gun or bullet that never was sent to the lab? A lot of stuff was let go by the way side which also means some folks got away with murder for 17 years.

-- Posted by JELLYBEAN on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 2:14 PM


I worked in the criminal justice system for over thirty years, so yeah I know little bit about it too.

I haven't seen or heard of any substantive evidence used in the conviction that was not discredited, but it really doesn't make any difference now as the ruling has been made and Paul doesn't think he has enough evidence to prosecute.

-- Posted by Red_Rhino on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 2:43 PM


Bill's so-called "work" resulted in the following as it pertains to this case.

Borderline ethical and criminal actions during Josh's arrest and charging process.

Bogus arrest.

A ridiculous investigation covering the entire timeline of this case.

Blatent disregard for facts, private citizens concern, etc.

Cooperation with a Prosecution that is off the charts with with the things they did wrong.

Bogus conviction.

He is personally responsible for upsetting Josh's right to choose his own path in life.

Emotional distress and devastation of Josh's mother, family, and friends.

Hoplessness...and lots of it.

Complete and utter disrespect of Angela and the Lawless family.

And after all this, he is proud of this case? The audacity of him, Kenny Hulshof, and people like you is absolutley amazing to me. Your words are foolish, irrelevant, and arrogant.

If this is even a tiny snapshot into the life and work of Bill Ferrell then I say no matter what Walters motives were, they were at the VERY LEAST justified.

Unbelievable. I would rather be the righteous sheep than the corrupt shepard.........Bahaahaa......

-- Posted by davereynolds on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 2:59 PM

Excuse me....shepherd.

-- Posted by davereynolds on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 3:03 PM

breathofanangel. . .what is your son's name? what is he charged with? I would like to follow his case

-- Posted by Trojans19 on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 5:03 PM

I was just thinking how nice it is for Josh to finally see justice and while I was thinking i realized how many things have happend in 15 years that a person would miss while prison. I can't imagine not having ever seen a TOOL concert! lol

-- Posted by I'll Be Frank on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 5:41 PM

Thankfully, this case was decided by a Judge who reviewed all of the testimony from the trial court, and then listened and reviewed new testimony that was submitted proving Joshua Kezer's innocence. Despite opinions to the contrary, Joshua Kezer is innocent, and deserves his freedom. Thankfully, albeit late, it was granted to him.

Unfortunately, a killer of this young, beautiful child has been roaming free for 17 years while another has taken his place, serving his sentence. My prayers are that the individual who actually brutally murdered that young girl is brought to justice, so that the family may find some sort of rest. I believe that this will happen ... that the real killer will pay for his crime. I still believe in justice, in spite of what happened to Mr. Kezer, and I believe the now Scott County Sheriff will put his efforts into seeing that justice for Miss Lawless will be served.

-- Posted by Tmaria on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 6:07 PM

I'm assuming you are not a brain surgeon, PI

-- Posted by Blondie1 on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 9:15 PM

For the person that's on here claiming this is a vendetta against one sherriff to another, I have to say you are exactly right. This is a vendetta between a sherriff that broke the law, used his position to gain wealth and power, and in the end covered up a crime to help those on his payroll and allowed a man to set in jail for 17 years, and the sherriff who is trying to get him convicted of those crimes because he saw them happening when he was a deputy back 17 years ago and now has the authority to do something about it. Now, if you are going to throw a pity party for the man who has done all the above things within our so called "trusted" justice system, well....that really says a lot about you. I would just keep my mouth shut if I were you.

-- Posted by Onmymind on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 11:13 PM

Kudos to you, Rick Walter! I, for one, am so relieved you opened the case back up. Anyone who has lived in SE Missouri knows who's interest Bill Ferrell had at heart. Myself, along with many, many other people have a feeling this case was nothing but a big cover up and I am sure large amounts of money was involved. It will be interesting to see who all this involves and how high up on the food chain it goes.

Joshua Kezer - Congrats on being out of there!! I wish you the best of luck!

And JD - This story has been the buzz around here for a while now...you are the only one who thinks what you do. What does that say about you?

-- Posted by wouldntyouliketoknow1 on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 11:37 PM

In reference to my previous comment, I meant PI, not JD.

-- Posted by wouldntyouliketoknow1 on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 11:39 PM

atta girl Blondie.....wink wink

-- Posted by davereynolds on Fri, Feb 20, 2009, at 10:50 AM

It's not about what you feel, or what you think. Nearly every convicted felon proclaims they are not guilty.

If you can't see a man found to guilty is now free simply to allow one sheriff to pick at another sheriff so be it.

It is what it is. And as far as being the only one here on this side of the issue, hmmmm...it seems leaders are normall out in front and not part of the pack.

My guess is within 18 months we'll see another story where he has ran into trouble with the law. Only time will tell.

-- Posted by PI on Fri, Feb 20, 2009, at 1:36 PM


If you can't see that an innocent man was found guilty based on some good ole boy politics then so be it. People like you make me angry.

As far as sides of the issue and your leadership comment, Hitler was a good leader. Mussolini, Marx, Stalin. Doesn't make you right. Difference doesn't make you enlightened. Wrong is wrong. You sir, are wrong.

I would be very concerned if you were anything more than a grocery bagger in my community.

Untwist your thought process. It might allow for more oxygen to your brain.

-- Posted by davereynolds on Fri, Feb 20, 2009, at 2:02 PM


What kind of person are you? you don't have to be a leader to see that justice has been done finally. Why would you say something like that-see how long it takes until he is in trouble again. I just hope if Josh or his family is reading this they don't pay any attention to you. I don't know any of them, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see he is innocent if you have been following the story and especially either from scott county or familiar with the way things are done there. Good Luck Josh and family, don't pay any attention to people like this. I hope you do well, and prove these idiots wrong!

-- Posted by cb_123 on Fri, Feb 20, 2009, at 2:36 PM

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