A late night crash into Big Clear Creek about 11:35 p.m. Saturday, March 2, left three young El Dorado Springs residents dead and a fourth in serious condition in Cedar County Memorial Hospital.
Deceased are Tori J. Helm, 19; Ashley N. Johnson, 21, and the driver, Joshawa A. Willoughby, 23.
According to the report by State Trooper Quinton D. Bland, Mr. Willoughby was driving eastbound on St. Clair County SW 430 Road about a mile west of Hwy. H at Hwy. O, five miles north of El Dorado Springs, when the 1982 Chevrolet pickup failed to negotiate a curve, struck the guardrail of the bridge over Big Clear Creek, overturned and landed submerged in the creek. St. Clair County Coroner Randy Sheldon pronounced the deceased at the scene.
Reportedly a fourth occupant of the vehicle, Charles W. Stone, 23, managed to get out of the vehicle and the creek and walk to Hwy. H to summon help. It would have been impossible for any passing motorist to see the crashed vehicle from the roadway or the bridge.
Sunday afternoon, there appeared to be a fresh tire treadmark on the top of the west end of the south guardrail.
The report by Trooper Bland said that none of the occupants were wearing a seatbelt.
Ashley N. Johnson, 21 Joshawa A. Willoughby, 23
Tori J. Helm, 19 Charles W. Stone, 23