A head-on traffic crash in southern White County has claimed the life of a well known Carmi minister. Billy Wagner, 78 died Sunday evening when the van he was driving collided head-on with a pickup truck on U.S. Rt. 45 south of Norris City. Mr. Wagner was the preacher at the First Pentecostal Church on Sixth Street in Carmi.
Illinois State Police report Wagner was traveling northbound on U.S. Rt. 45 at White County Road 400 in a 2003 Chrysler Town and Country van when he crossed the center line. Wagner's van first struck the trailer of a southbound International semi driven by Chad Mayes, 45 of Geff, Illinois. After the impact, Wagner's van then collided head-on with a 2004 Chevy Silverado driven by Lynnia R. Mayes, 50, also of Geff. Lynnia Mayes was following Chad Mayes' semi. White County Coroner Chris Marsh said Wagner was pronounced dead at the scene. Illinois State Police said Lynnia Mayes suffered minor injuries and was taken to Fairfield Memorial Hospital for treatment. Chad Mayes was unhurt, police said.
Chad Mayes told investigators that it did not appear that Mr. Wagner attempted to steer his van back into his own lane of traffic, and continued into the opposing lane of traffic. Coroner Chris Marsh said an autopsy would be conducted to determine if a medical issue may have been a contributing factor in the accident.