Day At The Track

Harness racing driver killed in Illinois crash

09:59 AM 15 May 2018 NZST
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Brian P. Cotton
Brian P. Cotton

WAYNE COUNTY, Ill. -- A two-vehicle crash in rural Wayne County, Illinois, Friday claimed the life of Fairfield, Illinois man Brian P. Cotton.

Cotton, 31, was working as a driver for a local Amish construction company when he was killed in a crash at the intersection of Ill. Rt. 161 and Enterprise Road in northern Wayne County.

According to Illinois State Police, Cotton was traveling westbound on Ill. 161 in a 2015 Dodge Ram pickup truck when he ran beneath the trailer of a northbound semi that allegedly ran a stop sign at the intersection.

Cotton was pronounced dead at the scene by Wayne County Coroner Jimmy Taylor. A passenger in Cotton’s truck, Amish worker Emery Stutzman, Jr. 32 of Cisne, Illinois, received major injuries and was airlifted from the scene to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville.

The driver of the semi, Steven S.F. Vanarkel, 29 of Holt, Missouri, and two passengers -- his wife Jessica N. Vanarkel and the couple’s 10-year-old son -- escaped injury.

An Illinois State Police accident reconstruction officer has joined the investigation into the crash. Authorities say charges are pending.

Cotton was well-known across Southern Illinois as a harness racing driver, competing at many county fairs.

By Len Wells

Reprinted with permission of The Courier & Press

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