Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 21, 2013

UPDATE: Coroner reveals man's identity in fatal crash


Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Authorities say the man killed in a car accident early Sunday morning was only about 150 yards from his Lake Sara-area home at the time of the crash.

Effingham County Coroner Duane Guffey tentatively identified the man as Joseph Wirth, 35. While Guffey said DNA testing would be needed for positive identification, the coroner added the car involved in the wreck on North Blue Point Trail was registered to Wirth and he had not been seen since the accident.

Guffey said a positive identification might not be available for six to eight weeks. An autopsy, however, confirmed the man believed to be Wirth died instantly from the impact of his car hitting a tree about 30 feet from the road, not from the subsequent fire.

Guffey said evidence indicates the crash occurred between 1 and 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning, but the car was not immediately visible to other motorists or residents in the area because of darkness and the wooded terrain.

A passing motorist finally spotted the burned-out car at about 9:30 a.m., Guffey said.