Danville man dies after car crashes into Vermilion County Courthouse

Danville man dies after car crashes into Vermilion County Courthouse

UPDATED 10:20 p.m. Thursday

DANVILLE - A Danville man died after a car struck a utility pole, a pickup truck and then slammed into the south side of the Vermilion County Courthouse on Thursday.

The accident occurred sometime before 3 p.m. on Main Street in downtown Danville.

Vermilion County Coroner Peggy Johnson said that Mark L. Smith, 59, of Danville was pronounced dead at the Provena United Samaritans Medical Center emergency room at 3:18 p.m. Thursday. She said an autopsy will be scheduled.

“He apparently became ill while driving his vehicle eastbound on Main Street,” Johnson said in a written release.

Witnesses said a man in a silver station wagon was driving east on Main when he hit a utility pole in front of the Old National Bank at 2 W. Main St., on the southwest corner of the intersection of Main and Vermilion streets. They said the car then swerved back into the eastbound lanes of Main Street, narrowly missed hitting a semi-trailer truck that was heading east, but sideswiped a truck sitting in the westbound turn lane.

Then the car crossed over the westbound lanes, went up onto the sidewalk and slammed into the courthouse at 7 N. Vermilion St. The courthouse sits diagonally across Main Street from the bank.

Danville firefighters had to use extrication tools to remove the driver from the car. He was taken to a hospital by Medix Ambulance.

Fred Rosenberger of Armstrong and James Edwards of Danville were the driver and passenger respectively of the truck that was hit. Both said they weren’t injured in the accident, although the truck was damaged on the driver’s side from the front fender to the rear.
Edwards said Rosenberger helped him mow yards all morning.

“I was going to get money to pay him,” Edwards said, explaining that they were heading to the First Financial Bank in the Towne Centre shopping center when they were hit.

Both men recalled hearing a loud noise, and Rosenberger said he then saw the car coming toward him.

“It was a shock,” he said, adding everything happened within seconds.

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