2 brothers, 2 friends killed in crash near Mendota, Illinois

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Ninety miles southwest of Chicago where silos instead of sidewalks fill the landscape, the people of Mendota are grieving a great loss. Four people in their 20s died in a single car crash around 4:30 a.m. Thursday. The fifth passenger is fighting for her life.

The LaSalle County Sheriff’s Dept says the driver lost control of the car, hit a mailbox and sped across the country road before sliding sideways down an embankment at a high rate of speed and becoming airborne. The SUV then landed in some trees. All five passengers were thrown from the vehicle.

All of the victims were between the ages of 20 and 24. Gregory Smith and his brother Daniel and Brenda Hampton, Robert Watson were pronounced dead at the scene. Amanda Blackwell, 19, of Plainfield is now being treated for serious injuries at Peoria hospital.

They were all close friends. And in a town with a population of only 7000 everybody knew them.

While the sheriff won’t say so, friends say alcohol was a major factor.

An autopsy will be performed tomorrow and toxicology reports won’t come in for weeks.

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  • Lady MacBeth

    If there were friends that knew that alcohol was a major factor, then there were friends who let five really drunk kids get into a car and drive. Nice friends.

  • mendota resident

    No matter what was the reason this should never have happened! The road was wet and has gravel on it blown onto road from shoulder, which had a major part in this! If you don’t live here dont judge the situation, because you DO NOT KNOW but those of us who do live here know that in a very very very small town, this is a severely sad time and we all are devastated. Can you imagine it being your child laying dead in the dark, cold,wet field the bodies were found in! No cause, no parent should outlive their children!

    • Former resident of the bottomless pit area of LaSalle County

      @mendota resident- you sound like an idiot, I bet you are a young adult just like the ones that wasted their lives in that cold wet field. The gravel had nothing to do with it, Iv drove down back gravel road many times. If people grow up and quit drinking and driving then this would stop. Everybody knows they were Booze cruising that was the most important factor that had the critical effect that ended their wasted lives. They will be forgotten

      • Friend of victim

        I’m a close friend of Amanda Blackwell’s, and regardless of what happened and why, nobody has any right to say whether or not someone will be forgotten by their loved ones. These people were loved dearly by their family and friends. They’ll never be forgotten. So shove your foot where your mouth is.

  • Shame on Julie Unruh

    Julie’s “reporting” on this is terrible. Lazy cliche beginning and then saying alcohol was a major factor without any facts to back that up is a poor job to say the least. Putting that in this article is amateur crap. Shame on Julie Unruh.

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