Columbia woman, grandson die in Route 158 crash


A 74-year-old Columbia woman and her 24-year-old grandson were among three who died in a Friday crash on Route 158 near Belleville.

Illinois State Police said Jerilyn Hess, 74, of Columbia, and her 24-year-old grandson, Christopher Craig of Dupo, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Alejandro Salen, 48, of Belleville, also died in the crash, which occurred shortly after noon. Salen was driving with a revoked license stemming from a DUI conviction, ISP said.

Police said Salen was traveling north in a Ford Escape when he lost control of the vehicle for unknown reasons and swerved into the oncoming lane, striking a southbound Chevrolet truck driven by Donald Hess, 74, of Columbia.

Donald Hess was transported to a St. Louis hospital for serious injuries and remains in critical but stable condition, police said. His wife was in the back seat and his grandson was in the front.

The crash remains under investigation.

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