Accident strikes 'backbone' of village

Man charged with DUI after crash that injured three Coal City employees

Published: Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012 6:40 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 2:30 p.m. CDT

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COAL CITY — The man who injured three village employees when he hit a public works vehicle Saturday night was allegedly driving under the influence.

Thomas C. Brown, 42, of Coal City, was arrested on a charge of DUI and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident after he was taken to Morris Hospital, where he refused treatment, according to a press release from the Coal City Police Department. Saturday was Brown's birthday.

A little before 7:30 p.m. Saturday police were called to south Broadway and Oak streets to a personal injury accident. One city employee was getting out of a truck with a trailer attached when he was hit by Brown's vehicle, Nick Doerfler of Coal City Fire Department said Sunday.

The two other employees were near the trailer when they were injured, Doerfler said. They were treated and released from Morris Hospital.

Coal City Streets and Alley Supervisor Darrell L. Olson, 44, was the most severally injured. He suffered traumatic injuries to his lower extremities and was airlifted to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. He is still being treated there, Coal City Police Chief Tom Best said in the release.

The public works employees were cleaning up after the village's Octoberfest event.

"Mr. Olson is a long-time and well-respected member of the village staff. Given the serious nature of Mr. Olson's injuries, I ask that his privacy and that of his family be respected at this time while he recovers," Best said. "This accident is still under investigation and more details will be released as they become available."

On Monday, Coal City Mayor Neal Nelson said the crash was devastating.

"The village of Coal City maintenance crew is really the backbone of our community," he said.

Nelson described Olson as the most dedicated, hardworking member of the maintenance crew. He said the village has responded to the needs of the employees involved and their families, as well as coworkers by offering counseling.

He encouraged fellow residents to keep the workers in mind.

"We are just asking everyone to keep those who are injured in your thoughts and prayers," he said.

Brown has been released from Coal City police on bond.  

Coal City police, Coal City fire and EMS, and Gardner EMS assisted at the scene.

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