Jacksonville Man Charged in Connection to Fatal Pedestrian vs. Vehicle Crash

By Jeremy Coumbes on December 19, 2023 at 11:39am

More information including the identity of the victim has become available on a fatal pedestrian versus vehicle crash from last night.

According to an update by the Jacksonville Police Department this morning, at approximately 5:30 last night, police and EMS responded to the intersection of Dunlap Court and West College Avenue for a report of a pedestrian who had been struck by a vehicle.

Officers arrived to find a female laying in the roadway, and along with Jacksonville Fire Rescue and LifeStar EMS, rendered aid on scene before she was later transported to Jacksonville Memorial Hospital.

According to the update this morning, the preliminary investigation determined that the female victim had been struck by a vehicle and then a second vehicle traveling a short distance behind the first swerved to miss debris from the accident and also struck the victim in the roadway.

According to the report, the driver of the first vehicle briefly left the scene before calling 911, turning around, and returning. The driver of the second vehicle remained at the scene according to the report.

21-year-old Tanner Birch of Jacksonville was charged with failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian at a crosswalk, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

According to an update by Morgan County Coroner, Marcy Patterson this morning, the female victim, 58-year-old Melinda Heaser of Jacksonville was transported to Jacksonville Memorial Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased.

An autopsy was scheduled for today at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. The incident remains under investigation by the Jacksonville Police Department.

Both the Jacksonville Police Department and Coroner Patterson are extending their sympathies to all affected by this tragedy.