Felony DUI charges filed against man after crash that killed 29-year-old woman

Local News

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A man who was accused by police of driving under the influence of alcohol before a deadly car wreck Sunday is being charged with a felony.

Effingham County State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler says his office is charging Andrew E. Welter with aggravated driving under the influence. He says that’s punishable by 3-14 years in state prison.

Troopers responded to the head-on car crash after midnight Sunday on Illinois Route 40 near Safety Harbor Drive. Police say Welter’s vehicle was going west when it crossed the center line.

Charleston’s Mara Ferguson tried swerving her Ford Fiesta out of the way, but police say she was unable to avoid being hit by his car.

Troopers say 29-year-old Alyssa M. Rhodes was riding in the front passenger seat of Ferguson’s car. Rhodes, who is also from Charleston, died in the wreck.

A condition update was not available for Ferguson on Monday.

It’s unclear yet whether 33-year-old Welter has been taken into custody. When asked if the Altamont man had been released from the hospital, Illinois State Police declined to answer, citing privacy concerns. He is not listed in online jail records.

State police initially cited Welter for driving under the influence of alcohol. Kibler explained that state police can only charge drivers with a misdemeanor DUI charge.

The state’s attorney says his office is continuing to investigative the fatal wreck.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.