The Will County Sheriff’s Office is announcing the death of two men who were involved in a motorcycle crash on Saturday, August 28, around 11:40pm. Initial investigation indicates that Jake Murdock, age 23, of Manhattan, was driving a 2018 Harley-Davidson motorcycle westbound on Wilmington-Peotone Road (between Center and 88th Avenue) when he struck a pedestrian, Ethan Ullrich, age 26, of Manteno. The motorcycle continued westbound, striking a mailbox on the north side of the roadway. Ullrich succumbed to his injuries at the scene. Murdock was also deceased and located in the roadway when deputies arrived.
The Sheriff’s Traffic Division Reconstruction Unit is continuing their investigation. It is unknown at this time if Murdock was still on the motorcycle when it struck the mailbox. It is also unknown if Murdock was initially still alive or deceased while he was laying in the roadway. When deputies arrived on the scene and began their investigation, it was learned that prior to deputy’s arrival, the driver of an SUV had been traveling eastbound on Wilmington-Peotone Road when she struck Murdock with her vehicle. Murdock was dragged several feet before being disengaged from the vehicle. The SUV continued, with the driver believing she had struck an animal, and then her vehicle became disabled near I-57 and Sauk Trail. The driver contacted a family member for assistance who arrived back to the scene to speak with deputies.
Illinois State Police and Sheriff’s deputies spoke to the driver of the SUV and interviewed her. At this time, no charges have been filed on the SUV driver and no signs of alcohol-use were determined during questioning. Her vehicle was towed to the Sheriff’s Office where Traffic Investigators are conducting a thorough investigation into the time, details, and occurrences of this tragic accident. It should be noted that this roadway is a two-lane, rural road, with no streetlights in the area.
The Will County Coroner’s Office will be conducting an autopsy today. Manner and cause of death will be determined pending the completion of the reconstruction investigation and toxicology reports. –end- kh