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More details released in Hampton police chief's crash
Hampton, Ill.
   
 
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Further details have been released about the April crash that killed Hampton Police Department Chief Terry Engle.

Engle died from injuries sustained on April 11 when his squad car crashed around 6:43 p.m. as he answered a service call, according to the Illinois State Police, the agency investigating the crash. He was northbound on Illinois Route 84 when his police vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree near 180th Street North.

The state police have not yet released further details about what caused the crash, or contributing factors to it or Engle’s injuries.

Rock Island County Coroner Brian Gustafson said Friday a toxicology test was negative for anything in Engle’s system that would have impaired him.

An initial examination of Engle’s body indicated he suffered multiple traumatic injuries from the collision, and they led to his death, Gustafson said shortly after the crash. An autopsy was not performed, and Engle’s death was considered accidental.

The Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office, in response to an open records request, supplied materials generated by its response to the crash.

Footage from the county deputies’ body cameras show firefighters and law enforcement officers around the crashed, heavily damaged squad car, which came to rest in a ditch on the Mississippi River side of the roadway.

Some talk to Engle encouraging him. Others brace the vehicle with blocks of wood, then pry the driver’s side door open to get the chief out of the squad. They then carry him up the ditch’s slope, place him on a gurney and wheel him to a waiting ambulance. Once he is inside, the ambulance drives away.

The cameras also record the deputies discussing the possibility that Engle was responding to a report of a blown transformer and hydroplaned.

Body cameras and dash cameras showed wet and rainy conditions both at the scene and in the surrounding area as the deputies drove to the crash site.

MidAmerican Energy confirmed on Friday that there was an outage on April 11 that began around 6:30 p.m. in the Rapids City/Hampton area, possibly caused by a lightning strike near the intersection of Highway 84 and 17th Street. MidAmerican did not specify which town, but there is a matching intersection in Rapids City.

A crew found a blown “lightning arrester” at a pole in the area, MidAmerican said. Arresters are designed to safely conduct excess energy from lightning or a power surge to the ground. No transformers caught fire or exploded during the incident.

The outage affected almost 1,300 customers in a wide circle from the Interstate 80 bridge to 94th Avenue North on in Port Byron.

There was no discussion audible in the deputies’ body camera footage that referenced how fast Engle was going when he crashed, or other elements that may have contributed to the crash or Engle’s injuries.

The deputies were not the first to arrive and their dispatch center did not take the initial call about Engle’s crash, according to the materials provided by the sheriff’s office. Rock Island County was called in after to assist the initial response.

The sheriff’s office on Friday referred further queries to the state police.

Hampton uses a different dispatch — QComm911 — so the audio the sheriff’s office provided did not include any information from Engle or Hampton before, during or after the crash.

Asked for more information, QComm911 deferred to Hampton.

Open records requests for materials related to the crash have been filed with Hampton and East Moline —whose officers also responded — and those requests are pending.

An open records request was filed in April with the state police, but the agency extended the deadline for responding, which reset the deadline to May 5.

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