River Grove man killed in crash along I-80

By Kevin Beese Staff Reporter

A 20-year-old Morris man faces charges in connection with an accident on Interstate 80 that killed a River Grove truck driver.

Jean Christopher Wilson has been charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in connection with the crash that killed Brandon Heard, 43, of River Grove. The accident occurred at 11:55 p.m. May 3 on westbound I-80 east of Brisbon Road in Grundy County.

Illinois State Police said their investigation indicated that a Jeep, driven by Wilson, 20, was stationary on the right shoulder of westbound Interstate 80 east of Brisbon Road. As the Jeep merged into traffic, the semi-trailer, driven by Heard, was traveling in the right lane and struck the rear of the Jeep.

Heard died of his injuries at the scene, State Police said.

Jesse Smith, 25, of Morris, who was a passenger in the Jeep, sustained life-threatening injuries, police said. He was transported to a local area hospital with serious injuries and later airlifted to a secondary hospital, where he remains in life-threatening condition, according to police.

Wilson sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital, State Police said. After treatment, he was released into police custody.

All lanes of westbound Interstate 80 were closed for the crash investigation and traffic was diverted off I-80 at Brisbon Road for more than six hours.

On May 4, the Grundy County State’s Attorney’s Office approved two charges of aggravated DUI involving death against Wilson.

He is being held in Grundy County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bond.

If convicted, Wilson faces three to seven years in state prison and a fine of up to $25,000 on each count of aggravated DUI.