Breaking News
More () »

Pedestrian killed, officer injured in crash on Sterling-Rock Falls bridge

Around midnight on Sunday, a driver hit and killed a pedestrian and injured an officer on the 1st Avenue Bridge in Sterling.

STERLING, Ill. — UPDATE (Jan. 24): The Whiteside County Sheriff's Office released the names of those involved in the fatal incident early Sunday, Jan. 23 on 1st Avenue at Wallace Street in Sterling.

According to police, Wayne Witt, 46, of Sterling was traveling northbound on 1st Avenue Bridge when he crossed the centerline. Officer Travis Nease's squad car was sitting in the southbound lane with emergency lights on while Nease was standing outside the car talking to a pedestrian. 

Witt struck the squad car, Nease and the pedestrian, 35-year-old Drew Barger of Sterling. Barger remained trapped under Witt's vehicle as it continued northbound before crashing into the viaduct center support and finally stopped.

Credit: Whiteside County Sheriff's Office
Wayne A. Witt of Sterling, Illinois

Barger was confirmed dead at the scene, and Nease was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and released, according to the release from the department.

Witt was arrested on charges of aggravated driving under the influence. More charges were pending, and the investigation was ongoing as of Sunday night.

ORIGINAL (Jan. 23): A crash in the middle of the night on Sunday in Sterling, Illinois, resulted in the death of a pedestrian and injury of a police officer.

According to Whiteside County Sheriff John Booker, at about 12:45 a.m. Jan. 23, police were alerted to a crash on the 1st Avenue Bridge south of Wallace Street.

Early information said that an allegedly drunk driver, currently unidentified, was driving north on the bridge when they struck a male pedestrian and a Sterling police officer who were also on the bridge.

The pedestrian was later pronounced dead. The officer suffered minor injuries and was expected to be okay.

The bridge was closed for several hours following the incident, but was later reopened.

The driver was arrested, charged with driving under the influence and held in the Whiteside Count Jail.

The identifies of those involved in the incident had not yet been revealed, and the incident was still under investigation as of Sunday afternoon.

RELATED: Stay in the know with WQAD online