MU freshman dies in Illinois car accident

Monday, January 23, 2012 | 7:37 p.m. CST; updated 12:34 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 24, 2012

COLUMBIA — An MU student died early Sunday morning in a car crash in Beardstown, Ill.

Brianna Baker, 19, of Adams County, Ill., was one of six passengers involved in a high-speed pursuit through Cass and Brown counties that ended in her death and one other injury.

Around 2:50 a.m. Sunday, a Brown County sheriff's deputy observed a 2003 Chevy pickup disobey a stop sign while traveling at speeds exceeding 100 mph, according to a news release from Beardstown police. The truck traveled from Versailles, Ill., to Beardstown, Ill., violating two additional stop signs and avoiding both Beardstown Police Department and Cass County sheriff's cars before the driver lost control, striking an Ameren utility pole. Officers found the car flipped on its top.

Baker was a freshman studying English, according to university records. She lived in MU's Responsibility residence hall.

Another passenger — Brooke Vonholt, 18, of Clayton, Ill. — was injured in the accident and transported to Passavant Area Hospital. The three other passengers were uninjured.

The driver, identified as Jacob D. Hendricks, 19, of Mount Sterling, Ill., was taken into custody and is currently being held in Schuyler County Jail on charges of aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer; reckless driving; driving under the influence of combined alcohol and drugs; speeding; disobeying a traffic control device; and failure to wear a seatbelt.

Further charges are pending in Cass County, and the incident remains under investigation by authorities.

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