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Local News

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Gov. Rauner visiting Watseka

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is expected to tour flood-ravaged Watseka today (Sat). Rauner will meet with city and other local officials at the Trinity Church on East Walnut Street. The 12 Noon visit, most likely, will find the governor answering questions about how the state may help with clean-up and recovery efforts.

The flood waters from the Iroquois River and Sugar Creek affected over 60 square blocks of Watseka. More than 130 homes were affected.

Businesses and infrastructure has also been impacted.

Up to 70 evacuees have been cared for at the Trinity Church where the American Red Cross has provided sheltering and food.

Watseka Mayor Bob Harwood will unveil the city's plan for recovery next week. The Iroquois County and Illinois Emergency Management Agency will be involved in the recovery process.

Watseka has also lifted the curfew for the rest of the city.

94.1 WGFA

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Iroquois County crash claims life of former Champaign resident

A two-vehicle collision in Iroquois County Thursday led to fatal injuries for 24-year-old Stephen Montez of Cissna Park. He suffered injuries in a crash in rural Iroquois County. He died at Carle Hospital in Urbana.

Montez was airlifted to the trauma center from the site of the crash south of Onarga.

The Iroquois County Sheriff's Office reported Montez was eastbound on 700 N when his vehicle was hit by a southbound pickup truck pulling a trailer at the intersection of 1100 E. Sheriff's Police and the Champaign County Coroner's office are investigating.

The truck driver, 36-year-old Jeremy Chandler and his 3-year-old son, from rural Loda were reported in stable condition.

Cissna Park and Buckley Fire personnel had to extricate Montez from the wreckage. Chandler and the young boy were ejected from their vehicle. Police reported the collision occurred in the center of the intersection.

94.1 WGFA

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Paxton man's predatory sexual assault case ends in mistrial

The Ford County state's attorney's office plans to re-try a Paxton man in a sexual assault case that ended in a mistrial.

Ford County judge Matt Fitton declared the mistrial Tuesday when a jury was unable reach a verdict in the trial of 35-year-old Billy Stevens. He was charged with predatory criminal sexual assault. Stevens was arrested in February for allegedly sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.

Judge Matt Fitton declared the mistrial in Ford County Circuit Court after the jury remained deadlocked after four hours of deliberation. A new trial date was set for October 13th.

Paxton Police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Service.

94.1 WGFA

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Indiana motorist suffers medical issue, released after police pursuit

A Lafayette, Indiana man, thought to be driving drunk, was treated for a medical issue after police in Benton County stopped him. Police reported a pursuit Wednesday evening on U.S. 52 after receiving a report of a drunk driver. The pursuit was ended near County Road 900 E when stop-sticks deflated the tires of the vehicle driven by 55-year-old Thomas Carlson.

Ambulance staff examined Carlson and reported he was unaware of his surroundings due to a medical issue. After some medical attention by ambulance staff, Carlson was released.

Benton County sheriff's deputies were assisted by Fowler, Oxford and Boswell police officers.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Watseka eyes relief, flood waters receding

Caution is still the word for Watseka residents and anyone traveling through town. Flooded streets are still the norm, but there is improvement and flood waters have back off.

Mayor Bob Harwood said the city remains in a state of emergency. The Iroquois County Board officially filed a disaster declaration Tuesday. And the hope now is that the state will step in and provide relief help.

Sugar Creek and the Iroquois River dropped five and three inches overnight. It's a slow process. Mayor Harwood urges patience and also thanks residents and asks to continue observing the curfew daily (10 PM 'TIL 6 AM). It's all about safety.

Watseka public works personnel are monitoring water levels. The number of evacuees has reached around 130. The fire department was called out again today for two more adults on the north side of town.

At least 104 homes are affected, according to Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Eric Ceci, and 60 square blocks of the city are affected by the flood.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency toured the city Tuesday. Harwood said a city clean-up and recovery plan will be in place by the end of the week.

"I want to thank everyone in town for their patience and I hope they continue to be patient," Harwood said. "We know in a situation like this patience can run thin."
Harwood also expressed his gratitude to the many fire departments providing mutual aid. He said "it's outstanding," that's what this is all about.

94.1 WGFA