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URBANA (JG-TC) -- A Mattoon man has been charged with reckless homicide and other felony offenses for allegedly causing an accident that killed a 10-year-old girl on Interstate 57 near Champaign.

Steven R. Kruse, 37, was using a cellphone in a construction zone on June 8 when his vehicle hit the rear of one in which the girl was a passenger, according to reports from the time of the accident.

The girl, Caitlin Conner of Camargo, died at the scene. Her grandmother, Debra Conner of Mattoon, was driving and she and the girl's 13-year-old sister were also injured, according to reports.

Reports also indicated that the impact forced Conner's vehicle into a tractor-trailer driven by John Scholes of Charleston.

Kruse received traffic citations after the accident and the criminal charges were added following a investigation, the Champaign County State's Attorney's Office announced.

The county's court records show the charges against Kruse also include aggravated unlawful use of a communication device and aggravated reckless driving. Kruse is scheduled for a court hearing on Jan. 31.


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