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Charleston woman dies in Effingham head-on crash, police report

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EFFINGHAM — Illinois State Police said a driver under the influence of alcohol caused a head-on crash early Sunday in Effingham that claimed the life of a woman from Charleston.

The 29-year-old victim was identified in a police statement as Alyssa M. Rhodes. She was a passenger in car driven by Mara D. Ferguson, 28, also of Charleston, who police said was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

The other vehicle involved was driven by Andrew E. Welter, 33, from Altamont. He was taken to the hospital with injuries police characterized as not endangering his life. He was later ticketed for preliminary charges of DUI, improper lane usage and failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash.

Police reports describe Welter's sport utility vehicle as being westbound on U.S. 40 near 900th Street at 12:16 a.m. when he crossed over the center line and collided with Ferguson's eastbound Ford Fiesta car. Police said she tried to avoid the collision by swerving to the left but both vehicles still hit each other head-on.

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Traffic reconstruction experts with the police were continuing to investigate the exact circumstances of the collision Sunday.

All preliminary charges are subject to review by the state attorney's office. 

Due to revised information provided by the Illinois State Police, this story has been corrected from its earlier version.


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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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