Suspect in wrong-way crash killing 2 charged - KMOV.com

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Man charged with killing 2 in wrong-way crash released from jail

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A Metro East family is furious that a man charged with killing two people in a DUI crash is out of jail.  (Credit: Belleville PD) A Metro East family is furious that a man charged with killing two people in a DUI crash is out of jail. (Credit: Belleville PD)
Kevin Helfrich, 54, was allegedly driving a truck the the wrong way down Illinois Route 15 and got into an accident, killing John Bannister, 37, and Daryl Harton, 36. Credit: St. Clair County Sheriff Kevin Helfrich, 54, was allegedly driving a truck the the wrong way down Illinois Route 15 and got into an accident, killing John Bannister, 37, and Daryl Harton, 36. Credit: St. Clair County Sheriff
John Bannister, 37, and Daryl Harton, 36, killed in wrong-waycrash in Belleville early Saturday morning. (Credit: Victim's family) John Bannister, 37, and Daryl Harton, 36, killed in wrong-waycrash in Belleville early Saturday morning. (Credit: Victim's family)
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

A man charged in a wrong way fatal crash that killed two men in the Metro East has been released from jail.

Investigators say Kevin Helfrich, 54. was driving a pickup truck going the wrong way on Illinois Route 15 on July 8 when he crashed head-on with a Kia Forte. Both of the people in the Forte, John Bannister, 37, and Daryl Harton, 36, were killed in the crash. 

Kevin Helfrich, 54, is accused of driving the wrong way, killing John Bannister and Daryl Horton in July 2017.

The deadly crash occurred on Illinois 15 in Belleville, Ill.

This was the 5th DUI for Helfrich. 

News 4 has now learned Helfrich has been released with an ankle monitor after a judge ruled the jail was not properly caring for him and his medical needs

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Family members of the two victims said they were celebrating their 14th anniversary that night. 

Helfrich was airlifted to a hospital in St. Louis in critical but stable condition. Police say he was recently released from the hospital and was taken into custody in July.

Documents also say he had a valid driver's license because of errors that were made in a police report.  Helfrich was charged with a DUI in October, his license was suspended when he refused to take a breathalyzer test.

According to court documents, the suspension was later lifted because of errors in the sworn police officer's report. Prosecutors said the officer, from Centreville, who arrested Helfrich in October did not include Helfrich's signature or a probable cause statement in his report. Both are required by Illinois law.

Bannister's family released the following statement: 

We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time for our family. The world has changed since John and Daryl are no longer here, there is a void in our hearts that will never be filled.

John and Daryl were selfless people that would help anybody and could light up a room just by walking in. They never met anyone that was considered a stranger, everyone they came into contact with felt instantly connected. Even in the darkest of times they could make you feel as if it would all be ok.

In closing, they were so special that the world suffered a tragedy on that highway not just our family. They were phenomenal sons, brothers, uncles, and friends that were taken much too early from this world.

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