Man dead following 5-vehicle wreck


Scott Smith, Charleston, Ill. city manager observes the damages of the five-car accident on the intersection of University Drive and Lincoln Ave on Sept. 19, 2021.

Corryn Brock, Editor-in-Chief

A man fleeing the police in a car chase through Charleston that led to a 5-vehicle wreck is dead, according to the Illinois State Police.

He was pronounced dead at a hospital following the wreck.

The deceased is Cordell Carter, a 33-year-old man.

According to Coles County Coroner Ed Schniers, an autopsy will be performed Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. in Champaign. He said the current belief for the cause of death is blunt force trauma but an official determination will be made after the autopsy.

According to ISP, a report was called in regarding a reckless driver in Mattoon around 4:47 p.m. Sunday. Mattoon police located the vehicle two minutes later on Lake Land Boulevard and attempted to initiate a traffic stop.

The vehicle did not stop and fled the area, according to ISP. The Charleston Police Department located the vehicle later in Charleston at Lincoln Avenue and Reynolds Drive.

CPD attempted to initiate a traffic stop and the vehicle fled once again, driving into oncoming traffic on Lincoln Avenue.

A total of five cars were involved in the wreck, four people were injured and treated at area hospitals.

Peyton Trier, an employee for Big Al’s Shake Ups, a food truck that was on the same corner as the wreck, said the crash sounded “like a bomb.”

Trier said when he turned to see what was happening, he saw a person lying in the road and smoke.

In 2021, Carter had been charged with driving on a revoked license twice, driving an uninsured motor vehicle once, domestic battery once, violating bond once and battery once. In 2020, he was charged with retail theft over $300.

On Monday, one felony charge, two misdemeanor charges and a miscellaneous remedies case were called at the Coles County Courthouse. Carter was listed as “did not appear.”

Carter’s attorney requested a continuance and the State objected to the request as well as requested a warrant. The court took the warrant under advisement.

A status hearing is scheduled for Oct. 12.

CPD requested assistance from ISP DCI Zone 5 to investigate the events leading up to the crash. The CPD, MPD, ISP Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit (TCRU) and the Coles County Coroner’s Office are assisting with the investigation.

The investigation is open and ongoing. No additional information is being released at this time.


Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].