UPDATE: Police say man was driving wrong way on I-74 in fatal New Year's crash
URBANA — State police have released new information and are seeking the public’s help in gathering more details about a New Year’s Day crash on Interstate 74 that claimed the life of a Mahomet woman.
Esteban J. Tomas, 33, who listed an address in the 200 block of West Beardsley, Champaign, was charged with driving under the influence and not having a valid driver’s license following his involvement in a crash that killed LaDonna J. Brady, 45, of Mahomet.
New information released Monday indicated that Thomas, not the victim, was the wrong-way driver. An additional charge of driving the wrong way on a divided highway was also added to Tomas’ case. He is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 24.
Illinois State Police Trooper Tracy Lillard said Tomas’ black 2007 Dodge Nitro was eastbound in the westbound lanes of I-74 near milepost 182 (Neil Street) at 1:04 a.m. Jan. 1 when it collided head-on with a westbound silver 2005 Chevrolet Equinox driven by Ms. Brady in the lane closest to the median.
Lillard told The News-Gazette that police originally were unsure which vehicle was going the wrong way on I-74, but investigators now think it was Tomas driving in the wrong direction.
“She was going the correct way, and he was going the incorrect way,” Lillard said.
Both drivers were taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
Ms. Brady was pronounced dead at 1:55 a.m. Jan. 1 from injuries she received in the two-vehicle accident.
Lillard also revealed Monday that Tomas’ blood alcohol level was tested at the hospital, but information on the figure was not yet available. She said police have determined that Tomas was wearing a seat belt, but Ms. Brady appeared to not be wearing one. Airbags went off in both vehicles.
Lillard said Monday that the crash is an ongoing investigation. If you have any additional information, please call the state police’s Zone 5 investigations unit at 217-278-5000.
Original story, published 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 2, 2017:
URBANA — A 33-year-old Champaign man has been charged with driving under the influence in connection with a New Year's Day crash that claimed the life of a Mahomet woman.
Illinois State Police Trooper Tracy Lillard said this morning that Esteban J. Tomas also faces a charge of not having a valid driver's license.
LaDonna J. Brady, 45, was pronounced dead at 1:55 a.m. Sunday from injuries she received in the two-vehicle accident on Interstate 74.
According to state police, the 2007 Dodge Nitro Tomas was driving struck Ms. Brady's 2005 Chevrolet Equinox head-on at 1:04 a.m. Sunday near mile post 182.
Tomas was traveling westbound in the westbound lane, Lillard said. State police are uncertain at this time which direction Ms. Brady's car was traveling at the time of the crash, Lillard added.
Both drivers were wearing seat belts and air bags deployed in both SUVs.
Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said Ms. Brady’s autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
Her death is being investigated by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and state police.