Three die over holiday week

By Gus Bode

The Thanksgiving week ended in tragedy for several families across southern Illinois after three people died as a result of car related crashes.

Sara Sims, 21, of Mulkeytown, William Wright, 17, of Elkville and Nichols Grammar, 26, of Alto Pass, died from unrelated crashes between Nov. 18 and Nov. 27.

Sims was driving her 1994 Geo Metro north on U.S. Highway 51 at about 7 a.m. Nov. 18 when she lost control of her vehicle. She then went down an embankment and struck a large drainpipe, and she was ejected from her vehicle. The car then rolled over Sims, killing her, according to a police report.


The second fatality occurred Saturday at about 2:30 a.m. on U.S. Highway 127 south of Pomona Road. Nicholas Grammar, 26, of Alto Pass, was driving his 2003 Mitsubishi south when the vehicle swerved off the road and struck a tree on the driver’s side door. The passenger, Lanae Stockwell, 23, also of Alto Pass, was ejected from the vehicle. The car caught fire, and Grammar’s body was burned in the vehicle, according to a police report. Stockwell sustained major injuries.

Wright was driving east on Beacoup Road Sunday at about 1:30 p.m. in his 1990 Ford Taurus, when he lost control of his vehicle and ran into a tree. He died at the scene, according to a police report.

Sgt. Michael O’Leary, of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, said the three fatalities in a nine-day period were very unusual. He said wet pavement might be a factor as to why Wright slid into a tree.

O’Leary also said as winter nears, drivers should be cautious of road conditions and wildlife because deer-to-vehicle collisions make up a large portion of vehicle fatalities during the wintertime.

“Take your time, slow down and always be conscious of the changing temperature and weather this time of year,” O’Leary said.

Reporter Matthew McConkey can be reached at [email protected]