A FEW NEW LEADS IN FATAL HIT AND RUN
The Bond County Sheriff's Department is reporting a few developments in their investigation of a fatal hit and run accident Sunday night on Panama Avenue. 44-year-old Richard Starkey of rural Sorento was killed when he was struck by what witnesses described as a small car possibly red in color. Deputy Doug Lawrence told WGEL that based on evidence at the scene they have possibly identified the make and model of the car. The Sheriff's Department is not releasing that information until it is confirmed. Lawrence said they haven't had any tips coming in on the case but anyone with information on this fatal accident should call the Sheriff's Department at 664-2151.
MAN CHARGED TUESDAY WITH FALSE IMPERSONATION OF POLICE OFFICER
Michael L. Hall, 48 of Pocahontas, was charged in Bond County Court Tuesday with false impersonation of a police officer and unlawful restraint, each Class 4 felonies; and reckless driving, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged that this past Sunday, Hall knowingly and falsely, without legal authority used his vehicle to pass another on Millersburg Road and stop across the road, forcing the other vehicle to stop. It is then alleged that Hall knowingly and falsely reported to this individual that he was a detective for the Bond County Sheriff's Department. Hall's bond was set at $30,000 with conditions that he shall not drive a vehicle or have contact with the said individual. The preliminary hearing has been set for January 25. Hall is currently being held in the Bond County Jail.
SCIGA ADDRESSES LOCAL SHORTAGE OF TRUCK DRIVERS
A solution to the future shortage of truck drivers has been discussed at a recent South Central Illinois Growth Alliance meeting. Director Art Borum said that over the next ten years statistics show a nationwide shortage of 320,000 jobs in the trucking industry. In our area there are a large number of trucking firms, as this is one of the central points in the U.S. Borum commented that with our transportation infrastructure and three interstates, I-70, I-64 and I-57, transportation can be done very easily in all directions. And job shortage numbers in this area are expected to be higher than the national average.
With the annual turnover rate of truck drivers near the 116 percent mark, Borum explained that they put together an advisory board of trucking firms who looked at what they felt SCIGA needed in providing training for the industry. One of the things they found is that some of the schools offer a four week program, which most trucking firms believe is not enough training to adequately supply the truck driving needs. Therefore, Borum said, they have now proposed an expanded truck-driving program to eight weeks. "Soft Skills", such as keyboarding and organizing personal finances and business from the road will be taught along with other technical courses. This will be the first semester that Kaskaskia College will be offering their new Truck Driver Training Program.
ANHYDROUS AMMONIA SECURITY WILL AWARD SECOND ROUND OF GRANTS THIS SPRING
Governor Rod Blagojevich recently awarded nearly $140,000 in grants to help 35 west central Illinois agrichemical dealers prevent the theft of anhydrous ammonia used to manufacture methamphetamine. The dealers operate 58 businesses in the region where meth was first discovered in the state. Funds will be used to tighten security at their facilities, purchase lighting and video surveillance or blending additives that render the fertilizer useless in the production of meth.
This pilot program intentionally targeted facilities in 21 counties where the meth problem is most acute. The program will now be offered to dealers throughout the state with additional grants awarded this spring. About $1.4 million is available for the second round of grants. Applications are due February 1st and can be obtained calling 217-782-3817.