A 33-year-old Chester man has been charged with DUI and other traffic offenses in alleged connection to a three-vehicle accident on Route 3 at Lawder Drive early Thursday morning.
According to the Randolph County Sheriff's Office, Jeremy T. Fernow was driving a 2008 Chrysler 300 northbound on State Route 3 when he allegedly crossed the centerline and sideswiped a southbound 2011 Chrysler van driven by 62-year-old Michael Dethrow of Ellis Grove.
The van overturned as a result of the collision, spinning 180 degrees and coming to rest on its side on the west side of the roadway facing north. Chester firefighters were paged out for extrication of both Dethrow and a passenger in his vehicle, 23-year-old Nicole M. Dethrow of Ellis Grove.
Nicole is wheelchair-bound and had a service dog with her in the vehicle. All three occupants (including the dog) of the van survived the accident, but Nicole was later airlifted to a St. Louis-area hospital.
"We got the lady in the van out," said Chester Fire Chief Marty Bert. "One wasn't trapped, just needed assistance in getting out and we got them out of the side window."
After the impact with the van, Fernow's vehicle began to turn sideways in the southbound lane of traffic, where it was struck on the passenger side by a southbound 2001 Toyota pickup driven by 48-year-old Stephen K. Meade, of Chester.
That collision spun Fernow's vehicle 180 degrees and it came to rest at the intersection with Lawder Drive near the Oak Terrace subdivision. Meade was not medically transported from the scene, but later did go to the hospital for evaluation.
Chief Deputy Jarrod Peters told the Herald Tribune that Fernow allegedly fled the area on foot and was found an eighth of a mile from the crash scene in a field. He was taken by ambulance to Chester Memorial Hospital for treatment and later placed under arrest.
In addition to the DUI, Fernow was charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident with injury or death, no valid vehicle registration, improper lane useage, illegal transportation of alcohol, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and failure to wear a seatbelt.
According to Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker, Fernow was given a bond of $30,000 with 10 percent applied.
As of Saturday, he was still incarcerated at the Randolph County Jail. The accident was reported at 4:45 a.m. and the southbound lane of Route 3 was closed for a short time for accident investigation and cleanup.