‘Active’ investigation into crash that critically injured 2 ISU students

ISU students Carson Bates (left) and Mike Burns (right). (Photos courtesy Gladys Molina-Burns and Jennifer Bates)

By 25 News

NORMAL – No criminal charges have been filed so far against a driver who struck two Illinois State University students from Plainfield, critically injuring them outside a popular bar near campus last week.

Meantime, a classmate of the two victims has organized a GoFundMe page to help their families with medical bills and other expenses.

It’s an “active” investigation, McLean County State’s Attorney Erika Reynolds and Normal Police Chief Steve Petrilli told 25 News Now Monday night.

Petrilli said an accident reconstructionist is among those trying to determine what happened about 12:30 a.m. Thursday outside Pub II on North Linden Street. It was not a hit-and-run, according to police.

ISU confirmed the identities of the victims, Carson Bates and Mike Burns, both seniors from Plainfield. Both remain in critical condition after they were flown by helicopter to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

Bates’ roommate Evan Woltman, also from Plainfield, organized the GoFundMe page.

“They’re just a nice group of kids who like to hang out with each other, working on their futures at ISU,” Woltman’s father, Jim, told ABC 7 Chicago.

He said his son has known Bates and Burns for several years, and are part of a tight-knit group who all graduated from Plainfield North High School.

Meantime, donations have been pouring in. Monday evening, the GoFundMe page raised almost $45,000 of the $100,000 goal.

“It really warms your heart to see how people have come out to help those two families.” Jim Woltman said.

Plainfield Mayor John Argoudelis is among those encouraging people to help the families.

“As a community we unite to help our own. Please do what you can,” the mayor said in a Facebook post.


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…