Coroner: Heart disease may have had role in fatal crash

Coroner: Heart disease may have had role in fatal crash

DANVILLE — An autopsy indicates that a Danville man died Thursday from multiple injuries he received when his car crashed into the Vermilion County Courthouse.

Vermilion County Coroner Peggy Johnson said Friday that Mark L. Smith, 59, also had severe heart disease that could have accounted for Mr. Smith becoming unresponsive while he was behind the wheel of the vehicle.

Johnson said that Mr. Smith apparently became ill while driving his vehicle eastbound on Main Street.

Johnson said toxicology tests are pending. She expected it will be several weeks before she gets those results.

Mr. Smith died after a car he was driving struck a utility pole and a pickup truck and then slammed into the south side of the courthouse before 3 p.m. Thursday.

Mr. Smith was pronounced dead at the Provena United Samaritans Medical Center emergency room at 3:18 p.m.

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 Main and Vermilion streets. They said the car then swerved back into the eastbound lanes of Main Street, narrowly missing a semitrailer 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.

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