EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons filed charges Friday against a Maryville man in connection with a fatal crash Thursday night on northbound Interstate 55 near Maryville.
Steven L. Willis, 38, was charged with one count of aggravated driving while under the influence causing death, a Class 2 felony; and one count of aggravated driving while under the influence, a Class 4 felony. Samantha S. Miller, 27, of Swansea, was killed when Willis' 2014 Chevrolet truck struck and killed her. Investigators say Miller had pulled over to the side of the road after her vehicle, a Mitsubishi, broke down. Miller was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred at approximately 8:01 p.m. at mile marker 16.
Miller was with her three children. The youngest, a 3-year-old boy, suffered the most serious injuries and is being treated for a skull fracture. The other two children, a girl, 6 and boy, 8, also suffered injuries. All are being treated at area hospitals; no additional information is available on their condition.
“This was a horrible, tragic event,” Gibbons said in a press release. “Three children are now without a mother due to this defendant’s terrible decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. My heart goes out to these children and the family and friends of Samantha Miller who are mourning her death at such a young age.”
He thanked his prosecutors and the individuals who responded to the crash scene, including the Illinois State Police, the Coroner’s Office and emergency medical personnel.
Maximum penalty for a Class 2 felony is 3-7 years in prison; maximum for the Class 4 felony is 1-3 years in prison. Willis, who was taken into custody at the time of the accident, is being held at the Madison County Jail in Edwardsville. His bond was set at $200,000 by Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli.
The investigation remains open pending final crash reconstruction and toxicology results. Additional charges may be filed at a later date.
Funeral arrangements for Miller are pending under the direction of Valhalla-Gaerdner-Holten Funeral Home of Belleville.
These charges, as well as the statements made herein, are based upon probable cause. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.