No One Injured After Child Takes Van on Joyride

Jacksonville Police responded to the scene of a traffic crash after a report of a child driving a minivan.

According to a police report, a caller to West Central Joint Dispatch reported the child driving the van at approximately 9:15 Friday morning. Officers responded to the intersection of East Michigan Avenue and Hardin Avenue and found the vehicle had crashed.

Following a subsequent investigation, officers determined the van was traveling west on East Michigan Avenue when it ran off the roadway and struck a stop sign at the intersection of Hardin before then striking a tree in the 300 block of East Michigan.

The seven-year-old female driver was uninjured in the crash and the vehicle did not need to be towed from the scene. According to police reports, the minivan was owned by Enterprise Car Rental of the 900 block of West Morton Avenue.

No citations were issued, and no further details were included in the report.

Three Arrested After Vehicle Flees JPD Traffic Stop

Three people were arrested after a vehicle fled from a traffic stop in Jacksonville last night.

Jacksonville Police conducted a traffic stop in the 600 block of North Clay Avenue at approximately 9:30 Friday night, and according to police reports, the vehicle fled the scene before being detained a short time later.

The driver of the vehicle, 19-year-old Montiara S. McGee of the 800 block of North Main Street, was arrested for aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer, obstructing a peace officer, and disobeying a stop sign.

A passenger in the vehicle, Demorion J. Harris of the 500 block of North Church Street was arrested for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm for having no FOID card after a firearm was found in his possession.

A third occupant of the vehicle, a female juvenile, was also arrested for obstructing a peace officer after she reportedly ran from officers during the stop. A fourth occupant of the vehicle was not charged for any wrongdoing.

Demorion Harris remains held at the Morgan County Jail this morning, pending an appearance in court. Mantiara S. McGee was issued a notice to appear and later released. The status of the female juvenile was not released in the report.

Interim Superintendent Hired at Pikeland CUSD #10

Pikeland School District #10 has hired a new leader for the interim.

Pikeland School officials announced on June 21 that Dr. Jo Campbell has been hired as the interim superintendent for at least the first semester of the 2024-2024 school year.

Campbell will fill the role while the Pikeland School Board continues its search for a permanent, full-time replacement after former interim superintendent Dr. Todd Fox recently departed the district for a new full-time teaching position with John Wood Community College in Quincy.

According to the June 21st announcement, Dr. Campbell has 33 years of experience in education and has previously served as an interim superintendent for the following districts: Schuyler-Industry CUSD #5, Canton USD #66, LaHarpe CSD #347 & Dallas ESD #327, Palestine CUSD #3, and Abingdon-Avon CUSD #276. Dr. Campbell officially started his duties with Pikeland on June 25th.

The Pikeland Board of Education said in the announcement that it will continue to work with School Exec Connect, to find a full-time superintendent.

Identity of Jacksonville Speedway Fatal Crash Victim Released

The identity of the person who was killed when a car left the track at the Jacksonville Speedway last night has been released.

Jacksonville Police and LifeStar EMS were called to the Morgan County Fairgrounds just before 8:00 pm for a report of an incident with injuries involving a race car.

According to an update by Morgan County Coroner, Marcy Patterson this morning, 65-year-old Ralph A. Willhite, of Jacksonville, was in the infield when he was struck by a 410-winged sprint car that had lost control. He was declared deceased at the scene by Morgan County Coroner Marcy Patterson.

Witnesses say a mechanical malfunction may have led to the car leaving the track and entering the infield at a high rate of speed. The remainder of Friday’s races were canceled after the incident. At least one other person was taken to Jacksonville Memorial Hospital for serious injuries.

No further details have been provided as of press time. Patterson says an autopsy has been scheduled for Monday.

One Killed After Sprint Car Leaves Track at Jacksonville Speedway

One person was killed when a car left the track at the Jacksonville Speedway last night.

Jacksonville Police and LifeStar EMS were called to the Morgan County Fairgrounds just before 8:00 pm for a report of an incident with injuries involving a race car.

According to a press release from the Morgan County Coroner’s Office overnight, a 65-year-old male was in the infield of the track during the races when he was struck by a 410-winged sprint car that had lost control.

The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene by Morgan County Coroner Mary Patterson.

No further details were provided as of press time. The Morgan County Coroner’s Office is withholding the name of the deceased pending the notification of next of kin. An autopsy has been scheduled for Monday.

Jacksonville Man Arrested in Pike Stolen Vehicle Case

A Jacksonville man was arrested by Pike County authorities this past weekend. At approximately 5:30 last Saturday evening, Pike County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to Perry, Illinois after a complainant to 911 told dispatchers that his red, 2011 Ford pickup truck had been stolen.

According to a report by the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, the truck was recovered a short time later in the Chapin Community Park.

A criminal investigation was conducted, and on Sunday, June 17th, 2024, at approximately 3:15 P.M., law enforcement officials executed a court-authorized search warrant at an apartment located in the 100 block of W. Main Street in Perry, Illinois.

46-year-old John P. Baker of Jacksonville was arrested on charges of burglary, unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle, unlawful delivery of meth, and driving with a suspended license. Baker remains lodged at the Pike County Jail.

Pike County Man Charged with 20 Counts of Child Pornography

A Pike County man was arrested this morning in a joint effort involving personnel from three area Sheriff’s Offices.

According to an announcement by Pike County Sheriff David Greenwood this afternoon, at 7:15 Friday morning, officials with the Pike County Sheriff’s Department, with assistance from the Brown County Sheriff’s Department, conducted a traffic stop on Illinois 107 near the Perry, Illinois Junction on a silver 2017 Cadillac.

The driver of the vehicle, 36-year-old Isaac J. Dorsey of Griggsville was arrested and taken into custody for unlawful possession of child pornography.

Greenwood says at the same time of the traffic stop on Route 107, law enforcement officials from the Pike County Sheriff’s Department, and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office executed a court-authorized search warrant on Dorsey’s residence located in the 300 block of North State Street in Griggsville, where several electronic devices were collected and seized.

Greenwood says Dorsey has since been charged with twenty counts of unlawful possession of child pornography. He is accused of possessing videos and photographs, via an electronic device, of children under the age of thirteen years old engaged in various sexual acts.

According to the report, the investigation began in May when information was received regarding unlawful possession of child pornography, and was forwarded to the Pike County Sheriff’s Department for further investigation.

Chief Pike County Deputy Zack Orr led the criminal investigation and said numerous search warrants were obtained and executed, which helped law enforcement successfully identify, locate, and arrest Dorsey.

Orr is assigned to the Office of Illinois Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. He says this arrest is another example of proactive policing concerning internet crimes, and that “Every time an image or video containing child sex abuse material (CSAM) is shared, the victim is “revictimized.”

Dorsey is currently lodged in the Pike County Jail.

Sheriff Greenwood is reminding the public that anonymous tips on child pornography can also be reported through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) cyber tip line at

Cooling Misters and Welcome Tent Available at Downtown Concert Tonight

With the heat wave in the area showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, Jacksonville Main Street is working to help everyone cool off at tonight’s Summer Concert Series show.

Executive Director for Jacksonville Main Street, Judy Tighe says, Main Street has secured a set of cooling misters that will be on hand for tonight’s performance by Chicago Farmer and the Fieldnotes.

She says these are not the kind of sprayers that children run through in the summer so that you can leave your bathing suits at home. “They are not sprinklers, but they mist water over a fan, and then that circulates the air that is cooler. “It sort of like air conditioning for outside, but not really. But it is supposed to cool the air in the region of the mister by about twenty degrees, which can make a difference on a hot day.”

Tighe says going forward, Main Street will continue to provide the misters for any of its downtown events when the heat can become excessive. She says between the cooling misters and the large number of shade trees on the plaza, she hopes it will make the concert more enjoyable for everyone who wants to attend.

Tighe says tonight’s performers, Chicago Farmer, and the Fieldnotes, are rumored to have a bit of a local tie with a past visit to Jacksonville. “They bill themselves as folk music but it’s really more eclectic in my opinion. They play a little bit of everything.

I heard a rumor that they were here at Soap Co. many many years ago. I don’t know what changes the band has made since then, but that would have been quite a number of years ago. But we’re very happy to have them here tonight.”

Tighe says everyone is always invited to the downtown concert series each week, however there will be a special group at tonight’s event for anyone who is a new face to the area.

“If there are any out-of-town visitors, we do hope they come to the concert, and they don’t have to be visitors, if they recently moved to the Jacksonville area we’d love to see them. Come downtown and stop by the welcome tent tonight. There will be representatives from Main Street, the Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation, there to greet people from other locations originally, so we’d be very happy to see everybody.”

The Jacksonville Main Street Summer Concert Series starts at 6:00 tonight with Chicago Farmer and the Fieldnotes taking the stage from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, immediately followed by the weekly after party which will be this week at Don’s Place.

Fire Destroys Jacksonville Equipment Dealer

Firefighters from multiple departments worked into the night after an area outdoor equipment dealer caught fire Tuesday. The Jacksonville Fire Department was called for a report of a structure fire at Henry’s Service Center, located at 2244 West Morton Avenue just before 7:00 pm.

Jacksonville Fire Department Chief Matt Summers says there was heavy fire in the shop, located in the middle section of the building when the first crews arrived. The South Jacksonville Fire Department responded as automatic mutual aid, and personnel from both the Chapin Arenzville Volunteer Fire Departments also aided in fighting the fire.

Chief Summers says no one was injured in the blaze, however, most of the building was completely destroyed. “There is a lot of loss. The fire crews here did a really good job. They pretty well kept the fire contained to the workshop area, the larger section of the building to the north. There was a lot of heavy fire damage. The roof collapsed over the sop area fairly quickly after they got on scene and not long after they got the aerial in operation.

There is a mezzanine level above some of the back offices and workshop area. There was a lot of fuel oil, tires and belts, and other things like that so they had a lot going on inside this structure at one time, and a lot of potential dangers.

The guys did a good job, they kept it contained to that area. The whole front retail area has water damage obviously, but they were able to save most all of that equipment and all the equipment that was parked outside along the building was able to be moved, so I think that damage was kept minimal.”

Chief Summers says according to the owners and employees interviewed at the scene, everyone was out of the building for the day approximately 20 to 30 minutes before a neighbor reported the fire to West Central Joint Dispatch.

Crews worked into the night to suppress a large fire at Henry’s Service Center in Jacksonville.

Chief Summers says due to the large amount of commercial losses caused by the blaze, an investigator from the Office of the State Fire Marshal was called in to assist in determining the cause of the fire.

Chief Summers says the investigation will remain ongoing and most if not all of the structure is a total loss. An estimate of losses will be determined in the coming days. Fire crews worked late into the night checking for hot spots.

A Jacksonville firefighter rests on the front of a fire truck. Multiple departments were called to a fire at Henry’s Service Center on West Moton Avenue Tuesday evening.

JPD Investigating Friday Night Burglary Reports

According to police reports, officers were called to the 400 block of West College Avenue at approximately 12:30 this morning after a resident told dispatchers that someone had broken into her apartment while she was not home.

Upon arrival and further investigation, it was reported that a door to the apartment was removed and an undisclosed amount of property was taken from the inside.

Officers later responded to the Knights Inn located at 1111 East Morton Avenue at approximately 3:00 this morning for a report of a vehicle burglary. According to the report, a complainant told officers at the scene that sometime between the hours of 2:15 and 2:55 am, someone broke out the back window of his car and removed a pair of speakers.

Anyone with information on either of these incidents is urged to call the Jacksonville Police Department at 217-479-4630 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 217-243-7300.