A two-vehicle head-on collision on State Route 4 on Thursday sent a 17-year-old Red Bud juvenile male to a St. Louis-area hospital with major injuries.
According to the Illinois State Police's preliminary report, the juvenile - whose name was not released by law enforcement - was driving a 2008 Chevrolet passenger car southbound on Route 4 near Pyatt Cutler Road.
A witness, traveling behind the juvenile's vehicle, told the Herald Tribune that the Chevrolet drifted over into the northbound lane of traffic and collided with a northbound tractor-trailer near the entrance to Lake Camp-A-Lot.
The ISP's report, which concurs with the witness's statement, identifies the semi driver as 67-year-old Max Buretta, of Chester. Buretta was not injured in the crash.
After the collision, both vehicles traveled off the roadway and into the opposite ditches of Route 4. Each sustained major damage and had to be towed from the scene while the highway was shut down for five hours for investigation and cleanup.
According to ISP trooper Christopher "Joey" Watson, there was no apparent evidence of cell phone usage in the crash and speed was not a factor. A blood alcohol test was not administered and the juvenile was wearing his seatbelt.
"That does not rule out other distractions inside or outside the vehicle that are not against the law," he said.
Watson said that since an ISP accident reconstructionist was sent to the scene, which usually only occurs with accidents involving major injuries, it may take up to six months to determine the exact cause of the crash.
The juvenile had to be extricated from his vehicle by firefighters and was airlifted from the scene. Steeleville, Percy, Willisville and Cutler fire departments responded to the accident, as well as sheriff's deputies from Randolph and Perry counties.
The accident was reported at 4:25 p.m. and is still under investigation by the ISP. The juvenile has been ticketed for improper lane usage.