VILLA GROVE, Ill. (WCCU) — A community is remembering two of its own after a deadly car accident.
The crash happened Friday evening in Douglas County on County Road 1450 North, about three miles east of Villa Grove.
75-year-old John Jones and 66-year-old Kristine Trudeau were both killed when their car hit a piece of construction equipment used to clean debris on the highway.
77-year-old Shirley Jones was hurt in the crash and remains in the hospital.
The two who died in the crash were neighbors and are being remembered for their giving hearts and dedicated service—both pillars of the community.
In fact, before the accident happened, all three victims were on their way to visit a friend in need.
“They were always there for people, no matter who they were or whatever their need was, Chris and the Joneses were there to help,” said Pastor Duane Piercy, who leads the Victory Church of Camargo. Piercy has known all three of them his whole life.
On the day of the accident, they were driving to go visit Piercy's mother, who had a stroke about a month ago.
“It is so special and so hard for me to realize they were doing something special for my mother when it all happened,” Piercy said. “Their last act of giving on this Earth was helping others."
Mr. Jones was a long-term teacher in the local districts, most recently serving as a long-term substitute Spanish teacher at Heritage High School.
"75-years-old but could relate to kids, freshmen through seniors and smaller kids. That takes a special person,” said Tom Davis, superintendent of Heritage Community Unit School District, who has known Mr. Jones for about 20 years.
Davis said the school has been grieving ever since and opened his classroom for the first time Monday morning.
“Most of the day you want to be strong for the kids, but our teachers are really broken up. They loved him too,” he said.
The school community will never forget when the Joneses arrived at last year’s prom together all dressed up in a tux and gown. Also, the numerous sweater vests Mr. Jones would wear for class.
“His legacy would be keep learning, you know, not just Spanish but really anything,” Davis said.
Trudeau is being remembered as the coordinator for the town's peace meal program and always giving to those in need.
“Even though it seems like a light went out in our community, their light still shines and it will shine, through our lives, because they touched our lives in so many special ways,” Pastor Piercy said.
During the high school basketball game at Heritage High School Tuesday, there will be a moment of silence for Mr. Jones as the community continues to mourn the loss of him and his dear friend Kristine Trudeau.