MANTENO – A longtime Danville business owner died in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 57 in Kankakee County.
Illinois State Police said Robert Pape was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on the interstate at Mile Post 320, which is about two miles from the Manteno exit. The accident happened at 10:38 p.m. Wednesday, state police said. (An earlier release said the accident happened early Thursday morning; state police sent a corrected press release Thursday afternoon.)
Mr. Pape owned Pape Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 10 E. Williams St., Danville. A message on the business’ answering machine confirmed that Mr. Pape (E.R. Pape III, known as “Bob,”) had died and that services are pending.
“We ask everyone to respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time,” the message said. It also said more information will be released as funeral arrangements are made.
State police were notified of the crash at 1:42 a.m., Trooper Jayme Bufford said.
According to a report, the vehicle — a gray van — was driving south on the highway. The driver lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road into a creek.
Bufford said the creek was 15 feet below the road. She said a passerby noticed the vehicle and called 911.
Bufford said Mr. Pape was not wearing a seatbelt.
The Kankakee County Coroner’s office said an autopsy was done this morning. The cause of death will be released pending toxicology reports, done routinely for vehicle accidents.