ISP District 18 in Litchfield is investigating a head on collision that claimed the lives of 4 people, two adults and two juveniles Saturday evening around 6:21PM. According to ISP a 17 year old juvenile was traveling westbound on Route 185 near Coffeen in a pick up truck when he allegedly crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a minivan head on. All four occupants in the car were pronounced dead at the scene by Montgomery County Coroner. ISP identified the adults that were killed as Jackolyn Protz age 72 and William Protz age 73 both of Sullivan.
A prayer vigil was held for all four victims Sunday afternoon at the Vandalia High School, including 2 Vandalia High School freshmen that lost their lives in the crash, 14 year old Jenna Protz and 14 year old Holly Lidy of Vandalia. In a statement, Vandalia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jennifer Garrison says the school district’s thoughts and prayers are with the Lidy and Protz families. Dr. Garrison went on to say the sudden loss of life can have a profound effect on young people so we will provide the necessary supports for our students and encourage their families to talk to their children about their feelings and how they are dealing with this tragedy.
This loss affects everyone in our school family and in the Vandalia community. Our school family is heartbroken. We will do everything we can to help with the healing process and we appreciate our community’s continued support of our students.
The four victims were returning from the Vandalia High School playoff football game in Williamsville, north of Springfield. Jackolyn and William Protz are the parents of Vandalia High School Principal Randy Protz and 14 year old Jenna is Randy’s daughter.
Illinois State Police continue to investigate the accident.