Pocahontas Man Charged In Clinton County Crash

A Pocahontas man is facing several charges after a traffic crash involving four vehicles Sunday in Clinton County.

The Clinton County Sheriff’s Department told WGEL 34 year old James Wildhaber, of Pocahontas, was heading west on new US 50 between Breese and Aviston around 7:15 PM Sunday, when his pickup drifted across the center line into the eastbound lane. An eastbound car driven by 23 year old Elica Wilkins of Salem swerved to avoid a collision, but was struck by Wildhaber in the passenger side.

Wildhaber reportedly continued driving into traffic and another vehicle, driven by 71 year old Carolyn Deadmond of Odin, swerved, but collided with the front passenger side of Wildhaber’s pickup.

That car spun out and came to rest facing south across the westbound lane. Authorities say the occupants of that vehicle, Deadmond and a 20 year old passenger, exited the vehicle and immediately after doing so the car was hit broadside in the passenger side by another pickup, driven by 65 year old Phillip Clutts, of Granite City.

The sheriff’s department said one passenger, a 51 year old female, was still inside the vehicle that was broadsided and was seriously injured. That passenger was airlifted from the scene to a St. Louis hospital. Three others involved in the crash were taken to HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese for treatment of injuries. Four people, including Wildhaber, were not injured, according to deputies.

US 50 was shut down for several hours during the cleanup and investigation.

Wildhaber was charged with alleged Aggravated DUI. The enhanced charge was filed because someone was seriously injured in the crash. Additional charges were filed against Wildhaber for alleged Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident and Improper Lane Usage. Bond was set at $50,000 and Wildhaber has since been released from the Clinton County Jail.

James Wildhaber is scheduled to appear in Clinton County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing on Monday, February 14.

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