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Monday, November 17, 2008

Sad News From IL

Here's the story from the Belleville News Democrat:

- News-Democrat
An Edwardsville tow truck driver was charged with driving under the influence in connection with a Friday morning hit-and-run accident that left a Granite City man dead and his infant son critically injured.

Mark Alan Ikerman, 43, of 2900 Sand Road, Lot 23, was charged Friday afternoon with two counts of aggravated DUI, leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death and failure to report an accident involving injury or death.

Donald Lee Legens, 34, of 2879 Iowa St., was killed when a tow truck rear ended the SUV he had been driving on West Pontoon Road. His 9-month-old son, whose name was not released, was seriously injured.

Grandmother Geneva Willoughby, 71, of Venice said Legens was on his way to Wal-Mart to get diapers for "little Donny Lee," Willoughby's great-grandson. The 9-month-old is at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis.

"They gave him about 12 hours to live," Willoughby said.

Willoughby said Legens, "who loves children," had four kids of his own. His wife is 7-months pregnant with their second child.

Willoughby said she has seen Ikerman where she works.

"I hope they do something with that man that hit him," she said. "He comes into the restaurant where I work, Lisa's Diner in Granite City."

Legen's grandma said she didn't see Legens very often. He worked at a collections agency in St. Louis, she said.

Legens was apparently outside of his vehicle putting gas into his 1999 Kia Sportage that was stopped in the right lane of eastbound West Pontoon Road, near Briarcliff Lane, when he was struck by the tow truck that fled the scene, according to Madison County Coroner Stephen P. Nonn.

Legens was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:20 a.m. Friday. He died as a result of head trauma.

According to police, Ikerman worked for Manheim Auto Auction in Granite City and was drunk while driving the tow truck that rear-ended the stopped SUV and drug it 300 feet down the road. Legens was outside the vehicle which had apparently run out of gas, said Granite City Police Major Jeff Connor.

Legens' son was in a car seat. He was airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis in serious condition.

"He's still in very serious condition, it doesn't look good," Connor said.

Police said Legens had run out of gas so he took his son to a nearby gas station and returned with gas. Police said the man placed his son back in a car seat in the vehicle before refilling it when a flatbed tow truck, traveling at a high rate of speed, struck the vehicle and the man, who was refilling the SUV.

A witness to the accident followed the tow truck and called police, Connor said. The tow truck was not trying to pull over the help the disable vehicle, he said.

"We're very happy that someone from the public chose to follow the vehicle," Connor said. "We appreciate the citizen's help in this."

Police found the tow truck in the driveway of a residence around 7 a.m. Friday and arrested the driver.

Ikerman was cited for some traffic violations in 2004, but has no other felonies or DUIs in Madison County, said Stephanee Smith, spokeswoman for Madison County State's Attorney Bill Mudge.

Ikerman was expected to be transferred Friday evening from the Granite City Police Department to the Madison County Jail.

Friends erected a cross at the crash scene Friday and Lynda Curtis and Donny Ezell stopped to pay their respects. Ezell placed a flower and said they'd been friends for 20 years.

Ezell said Legens was a devoted father.

Contact reporter Maria Baran at or 239-2460. Contact reporter Jennifer A. Bowen at or 239-2667.

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