State Briefs 10/06/09

Former AG Jim Ryan considering run for governor

SPRINGFIELD – Former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan, who was the Republican candidate defeated for governor by Democrat Rod Blagojevich in 2002, may make another run for the state’s top job.

Ryan “is seriously considering entering the race for governor,” said a statement from a new campaign committee he has formed, Friends of Jim Ryan. “He will make his final decision very soon.”

The statement says Ryan has taken a poll showing he would be “far ahead” of other GOP contenders for governor in 2010, and in a statistical dead heat with the two Democrats running for governor.

Ryan is a distinguished fellow and professor at Benedictine University in Lisle, and set up a center for civic leadership and public service at the school.

Main GOP candidates for governor include state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady, businessman Adam Adrzejewski, DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, former GOP state Chairman Andy McKenna and political activist Dan Proft. Democrats include incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes.

State Journal-Register

Man killed after SUV strikes train

KEWANEE – A Kewanee man was killed Sunday night when the SUV in which he was riding struck a train near Hillsdale.

Gary Schwager, 41, was thrown from the SUV, according to the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The sheriff’s department reported that the SUV, driven by Derek A. Swanner, 28, of Hillsdale, was northbound on 265th St. North when it struck the side of a westbound BNSF Railway train at the rail crossing.

Swanner and two other passengers, Dawn M. Porter, 32, of Rock Island and Sara L. Martensen, 33, of Rock Island, were taken to Genesis Illini Campus. Martensen was life-flighted from the scene, according to a sheriff’s department spokesman.

Kewanee Star Courier

Fire department: Arson cause of two fires in same block

PEORIA – Arson was the cause of two fires in the same Central Peoria block early Tuesday morning, the Peoria Fire Department said.

Firefighters were called to 900 W. McClure Ave. about 1:25 a.m., where smoke and flames were visible upon arrival. Flames were in the porch area as well as the front door and inner front room, according to a police report.

The fire did an estimated $25,000 in damage and was under control within a few minutes. While putting equipment away, firefighters noticed a fire at the rear of a house at 910 McClure. The vacant house, which had no utilities active, sustained an estimated $5,000 in damage to the exterior.

Peoria Journal Star

Teens injured after being struck by driver practicing parking

WASHINGTON, Ill. –  Two Washington Community High School students were injured Monday when they were struck by a minivan driven by another student in a school parking lot.

Kaitlin Carlson, 18, and a 17-year-old boy were treated and released from OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria after they were pushed against a wall by the 15-year-old female driver.

Washington Deputy Police Chief Don Volk said the driver, who has a learner’s permit, was in the car with her mother about 6:15 p.m. when she accelerated instead of braked while trying to park in the school’s visitors parking lot off Jefferson Street.

In addition to the two students, the van jumped over a parking block and hit a parked car, a support brace for a canopy, and fencing around a transformer. An AmerenCILCO crew examined the transformer and found no damage.

Volk said the driver will not be ticketed.

Peoria Journal Star