MANSFIELD — A Mansfield motorcyclist remains hospitalized with severe injuries he sustained when a pickup truck pulling a trailer ran over him last week. Meantime, the driver of the truck who allegedly hit him is in the Piatt County jail in Monticello waiting for his first court appearance.
Piatt County Chief Deputy Mark Huckstep said the accident happened on May 8 about 1:15 p.m. in front of a home in the 2700 block of Piatt County Road 1500 E, which is east of Mansfield and just west of the line dividing Piatt and Champaign counties.
Huckstep said Paul Reynolds, 46, of rural Mansfield, was driving his motorcycle south on County Road 1500 E while a pickup truck pulling a landscaping trailer driven by Wesley E. Luster, 19, of the 100 block of Avondale Avenue, Champaign, was driving north on that road.
Huckstep said Luster apparently made a left turn into a residence in front of Reynolds. Seeing that he was about to collide with the pickup, Reynolds laid his bike down and skidded, hitting the side of Luster's truck.
Reynolds told Huckstep he was then run over by Luster's pickup and trailer. Reynolds said the driver did not stop, continued on to the property of the residence, circled around and left, running over him a second time with the trailer as he left.
Reynolds reported to Huckstep that he lay on the ground about 10 minutes before anyone stopped to help him.
There were no witnesses to the accident but Huckstep said Reynolds was able to give him a good description of the truck and landscaping trailer, including writing that was on the trailer.
Huckstep said he learned from the property owner that Luster was supposed to have mowed the lawn that day. Huckstep went to Luster's Champaign home later that evening and talked to him.
Luster initially denied any involvement in the accident, Huckstep said, but after Huckstep told him that the wording on the trailer matched words that Reynolds was able to supply, Luster admitted that he had "freaked out" and did not want to go to jail.
Huckstep said he arrested Luster on preliminary charges of leaving the scene of an injury accident, a Class A misdemeanor, and ticketed him for driving without insurance and making an improper left turn.
Luster is being held in the Piatt County jail in lieu of $50,000 bond. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on June 11.
Huckstep said he talked to Reynolds at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana Monday night and learned he is improving. Huckstep said Reynolds' injuries included broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a broken shoulder, and the need for a hip replacement. He was listed in good condition Tuesday morning.
"He was wearing a helmet. I think it saved his life," said Huckstep. "That night he went to the ER ... he was able to give me one of the best statements I ever remember getting."