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The Fayette County coroner said that the death of a passenger in a one-car crash in December is now being ruled a homicide.
Jacob Henschen, 28, of Pana, sustained fatal injuries in a single-vehicle accident south of Herrick on Thursday, Dec. 10.
Henschen was ejected from the vehicle as it crashed when the vehicle driven by Caleb Lamb, 24, of Pana, went off the road on a curve and overturned.
While Coroner David Harris and the Illinois State Police continue to investigate the crash, Harris said that he and the pathologist in the case have determined that Henschen’s death will be ruled a homicide.
Harris said that ruling is “in view of the actions of the driver.”
As a result of the accident, Lamb was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, improper lane usage, illegal transportation of alcohol, operation of an uninsured motor vehicle and failure to wear a seat belt.
On Dec. 21, according to court records, the office of Fayette County State’s Attorney Joshua Morrison filed a charge of aggravated use of an electronic communication device when involved in an accident that results in death to another.
That charge is a Class 4 felony punishable by up to three years in prison.
On Dec. 30, according to court records, Morrison’s office filed a motion stating its intent not to prosecute on that charge, and an order on that motion was approved on Jan. 4 by Judge Marc Kelly.
The state’s attorney’s office can legally file a new charge, but had not done so as of Tuesday.