WHITE COUNTY, ILLINOIS — There is a small bundle of flowers on the side of County Road 1775 in White County, a makeshift memorial to two teens taken from this earth too soon.
“It just makes it a little tougher when you’re dealing with young people,” White County Sheriff Doug Maier said.
The White County Sheriff’s Office said Chrishaun Coaliron, 16, and Kaitlyn Gwaltny, 15, were reported missing a little before 8 p.m. Saturday after an evening out with friends riding ATVs.
“At one point, they got separated from the group and the rest of the group had returned to Maunie and they were unable to locate these two young people, so they were concerned,” Maier said.
Sheriff’s deputies searched the area where they were last seen near Maunie, Illinois, before finding a wrecked three-wheeler at the intersection of County Road 850N and County Road 1775E. Both Coaliron and Gwaltny were found dead.
“Shortly before midnight, dispatch got a call that an individual had observed a three-wheeler in a deep ditch embankment,” Maier said.
For Maier, it was an emotional night for him and his deputies working the accident.
“We had family members and parents at the scene and that made it a little tougher trying to talk with them,” he said. “It wasn’t easy for anyone out there.”
Maier said the teens tried to turn left onto County Road 850N but lost control and fell into the steep embankment. He does not believe there to have other factors contributing to the crash. Neither teen was wearing safety gear at the time of the accident.
“It just appears to be an accident,” he said.
Maier said it is never easy to break this kind of news to the parents.
“My only response to them was that God evidently needed them more than we did here,” he said. “But there’s no good answer when you’ve got young people who die senselessly like this.”
Maier said Illinois State Police did an accident reconstruction. He said his deputies are still working on filing an official report.