[cifnmedia] Death of ex-firefighter comes as blow to chief

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 20:43:24 -0700 (PDT)

Death of ex-firefighter comes as blow to chief
By Paul Hampel
Of the Post-Dispatch
 Motorcyclist was killed last week 

The medic who radioed the Collinsville Fire Department advised that a man 
injured in a motorcycle accident was a retired firefighter. 

That vague description fit several men. But when Collinsville Fire Chief Jim 
Twyman heard the emergency call last week, he knew in his gut who the victim 

"I felt it had to be Ron Whitt, and it just made me sick to think about it," 
Twyman said. 

Whitt, a former Collinsville Fireman of the Year, died Friday of head injuries 
after his Harley-Davidson motorcycle collided with a car that crossed his path 
at West Main Street and Illinois Route 157 in Collinsville. He was 56. 

Witnesses said the driver of the car made a left turn in front of Whitt, who 
had a green light and was traveling north on 157. 

Police have not disclosed the name of the 16-year-old girl who was driving the 
car. The accident is under investigation, police said. 

Whitt was honored as Collinsville's top firefighter in 1992. He retired in 1998 
after 22 years with the department. 

Twyman said Whitt stayed busy after retirement, remodeling buildings he had 

"He would visit the firehouse regularly. He was popular around here," Twyman 

Whitt was seriously injured in 1995 in a similar accident. In that crash, he 
suffered facial injuries requiring surgery after a car pulled into the path of 
his motorcycle on Route 157, just north of the scene of last week's accident. 

"After that (accident), I said to Ron, 'Well, I guess that will end your career 
of riding motorcycles, huh?'," Twyman recalled. 

"But Ron said, 'Absolutely not.' 

"He was a gutsy guy. He knew the risks, but he refused to wear a helmet." 

Whitt is survived by his wife, Delores; a daughter, Ashley Bailey-Whitt of 
Caseyville; and two sons, Zachary Whitt of Mitchell and Joshua Whitt of Granite 

Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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