Beardstown car accident claims the life of Adams County teenager

Location of the fatal crash

A Mt. Sterling man remains in the Schuyler County Jail Tuesday on charges related to a fatal car accident in Beardstown Sunday morning.

Cass County Sheriff Bob Fair says 19-year-old Jacob Hendricks is being held on a $250,000 bond. State Attorney John Dahlem has not given notice about an initial court appearance for Hendricks.

Brianna Baker, 19, of La Prairie died in a one car accident Sunday morning at the intersection of 8th and Beard Street.

Another back passenger, Brooke Vonholt, 18, of Clayton, was originally sent to Passavant Area Hospital and was then treated at Memorial Medical Hospital in Springfield, Illinois.

KHQA verified over the phone Friday that Vonholt has been released from Memorial Medical.

The Brown County Sheriff's Department says the early Sunday morning incident began with reports of a dark colored Chevy pickup going through yards and vandalizing private and public property in Versailles, Illinois.

Brown County Sheriff Karl Groesch says his deputy had just arrived on scene to meet with the victim, who moments later identified a passing vehicle with the suspects inside.

"The deputy tried to stop the vehicle and that's when the vehicle accelerated through a stop sign and left Versailles at a high rate of speed," said Groesch.

That's when a high-speed pursuit began.

"He went through Versailles, down to Meredosia on 104, and then route 67 through Beardstown," said Groesch.

The roads travelled had a speed limit of 55 mph, though the Brown County deputy says the pickup in pursuit reached speeds of more than 100 mph.

At 2:50 a.m. Sunday, Beardstown Police Chief Tom Schlueter says his department received a report of the speeding car entering into Cass County, originally from Brown County.

Schlueter says there was some confusion as to the chase itself. He says a Morgan County dispatcher at one point messaged all officers involved that the chase had ended in Beardstown. But Schlueter says moments later, a Beardstown police officer and a Cass County Sheriff's deputy were sitting in a parking lot near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Highway 67, when the Chevy entered Beardstown, followed closely by the Brown County deputy.

Hendricks was rounding 8th and March streets in Beardstown when he lost control of the vehicle.

The 2003 Chevy pickup was carrying six people; three in the front, three in the back of the extended cab pickup. Beardstown police said the pickup was found on its nose, after snapping a utility pole in half. Brianna Baker was a back passenger. She died in the crash.

Hunter Funeral Home
in Golden will take care of the arrangements. According to the funeral home's Website, Baker was a freshman at the University of Missouri. Services will be held Thursday, January 26. Visitation will be Wednesday, January 25 from 4 p.m. to 8 .m. Memorials may be made to the Quincy Animal Shelter or MADD Illinois.

Joshua Cooley and Austin Patton of Timewell, and Mackenzie Wright of Clayton were in the vehicle but were uninjured in the crash.

Hendricks was cited for the following:

Disobeying a traffic control signal

Aggravated reckless driving

Aggravated driving under the influence of combined alcohol and drugs

Aggravated driving under the influence of drugs (a separate charge)

Brown County has not yet ruled out filing additional charges against the driver and passengers.

The incident remains under investigation.

When KHQA's Brooke Hasch asked about law enforcement protocol for high speed chases, Groesch responded by saying Brown County has no protocol, however, his department does take extra precautions and rely on "common sense" in these situations.The Brown County deputy will not face disciplinary action for his involvement in the incident, according to Groesch. "He was doing his job," Groesch said. Groesch told Hasch Tuesday that a policy could be put in place in the future, but not as a result of this incident.

Further research shows law enforcement agencies across West Central Illinois have varying protocols dictating when to pursue and when not to pursue. Those rules are based on certain variables including the time of the incident, the location and other various conditions. You can find our story listing the counties with protocols here.

*Reported by KHQA's Brooke Hasch