CISSNA PARK — The commander of the American Legion post in Cissna Park died in a traffic accident following the post's annual cash bash on Saturday night.
Carl M. Goben, 47, of rural Del Rey, was pronounced dead at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the emergency room at Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka, Iroquois County Coroner Bill Cheatum said.
An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
Mr. Goben was transported to the hospital by Buckley Ambulance Service following a one-vehicle accident that was reported at 7:30 p.m., Cheatum said.
The accident occurred shortly after Mr. Goben had attended the Legion's annual cash bash fund-raiser, Cheatum said.
According to a news release from the Iroquois County Sheriff's Office, Mr. Goben was fatally injured when he crashed his vehicle on County Road 600 North in rural Cissna Park.
Mr. Goben was westbound on 600 North, approaching a curve at County Road 1000 East, when his vehicle left the road to the south and he apparently overcorrected, the news release said. Mr. Goben's vehicle then skidded out of control across the road and into the north ditch, where it became airborne and rolled, throwing Mr. Goben from the passenger-side window. The vehicle came to a rest in the ditch on the north side of the road.
Francis Thompson, an adjutant for Cissna Park American Legion Post 527, said members were mourning Mr. Goben's death.
"We lost one of our own," he said. "We were very close to Carl, and Carl was very close to us. It just hurts a little bit."
Mr. Goben was serving one year as commander of the post, after moving up through the officer ranks over the past four years, Thompson said. Mr. Goben was a veteran of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.
"He was very, very dedicated," Thompson said.
The Legion post's senior vice commander, Terry Seibert, will fill the remainder of Mr. Goben's term as commander, Thompson said.
Mr. Goben was also a volunteer firefighter for the Onarga fire department, Cheatum said.