Mayor Sends Condolences Following Head-On Crash Claims Life of Arthur Pitcher

By Jeremy Coumbes on July 1, 2022 at 11:18am

The Mayor of Jacksonville is sending condolences to the family of an East Central Illinois man who was killed in a two-vehicle crash late Wednesday night.

20-year-old Lucas S. Otto of Arthur Illinois was traveling eastbound on Interstate 72 near mile marker 118 east of Springfield at approximately 11:20 pm Wednesday when his sedan was struck head-on by a pickup truck that was traveling in the wrong direction in the same lane.

Otto was a pitcher for the Springfield Lucky Horseshoes collegiate baseball team, and according to the State Journal-Register, he was heading home after the team had played a night game against the Normal CornBelters.

According to a preliminary crash report by the Illinois State Police released this morning, Otto was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the pickup truck, 27-year-old Zachary R. Wilham of Decatur, was airlifted to HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. According to Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon this morning, Wilham died as an inpatient at the hospital yesterday at 12:19 pm from multiple blunt force injuries sustained in the crash.

Lucas Otto played alongside Drew Ezard, the son of Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard. Drew Ezard, a baseball stand-out at Jacksonville High School, has played for the Lucky Horseshoes this season during the off-season from the Lincoln Land Community College Loggers baseball team.

Mayor Ezard says Drew and Lucas spent a lot of time together in the bullpen, so when his death was announced by the team on social media early Thursday, Mayor Ezard sent the following condolences:

On behalf of the City of Jacksonville I want to give our sincerest condolences to the family of Lucas Otto. My son was fortunate to compete with Lucas this summer and our family was able to see this firsthand. He was a competitor and fine young man. Our prayers are with his family, coaches, staff & teammates.”

The Lucky Horseshoes postponed their game that was scheduled last night against the Quincy Gems. The Illinois State Police and the Sangamon County Coroner’s Office are continuing to investigate the crash.

In an announcement by the Springfield Lucky Horseshoes this afternoon, team officials say after consulting with the Otto family, tonight’s home game against the Clinton LumberKings will be played as scheduled. The Lucky Horseshoes say they will be dedicating the rest of the season to Lucas and the Otto family.