Details emerge about Rt. 116 accident

Gary Childs

The traveling party lost its way early Sunday on Illinois Routes 116/117 between Benson and Roanoke.

According to multiple sources, the group of six couldn't arrive at a consensus on the best way to return to their homes in Peoria after a night out in the Bureau County village of Ladd.

"They were arguing about which way to go," said Tasha O'Brien, citing her conversation with Anna Schenk, one of the passengers in a car driven by Schenk's boyfriend, Ryan Cooper.

The group was involved in a one-car accident about 3:30 a.m. Sunday that resulted in the death of 18-year-old Zachary Bussman and Cooper's arrest. The 19-year-old has been charged with aggravated driving under the influence. On Tuesday, Cooper remained in Woodford County Jail in Eureka, where he is being held on $100,000 bond.

O'Brien is the older sister of Julie O'Brien. Julie O'Brien was in the backseat with three others, including Bussman. He died after being ejected from the vehicle.

"From what I was told, Ryan had turned to tell them to be quiet," Tasha O'Brien said. "He veered off (the roadway) a little bit and he overcorrected. That's what actually caused the crash."

Julie O'Brien and Tyler Myers continue to be treated at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, where they were listed in good condition Tuesday afternoon. Schenck also was treated at St. Francis, but has been released.

Tasha O'Brien said her sister hasn't "really talked a lot" about the accident. She said Julie O'Brien and others found Bussman, Julie O'Brien's boyfriend, behind the car.

"They felt a pulse when they first came up to him," Tasha O'Brien said. "But unfortunately they couldn't do anything.

"He basically passed away in her arms so she's just really going through a lot."

The Woodford County Sheriff's Department continues to investigate the incident.