ALTAMONT — Police have identified the driver of the car allegedly involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash last weekend.

Illinois State Police said in a news release Katheryn P. Armstrong, 16, of Mason was the driver of the vehicle involved in the crash that killed Joel M. Lock, 16, of Altamont early Sunday morning on a rural road about three miles southeast of Altamont.

Armstrong is a student at Altamont High School. Lock had also been an AHS student before his death.

Effingham County State’s Attorney Ed Deters confirmed Armstrong had two female passengers in the vehicle at the time of the crash. But Deters declined to identify the two, saying both are juveniles, and there is no possibility either would be charged with any crime in connection with the crash.

“All they would be is witnesses,” Deters said, adding it is no certainty any charges will be filed against the driver.

Deters said Armstrong was identified in an effort to shut down the rumor mill that has been running overtime, especially in the Altamont area, since the crash.

“We’re just trying to cut down on all the speculation,” Deters said.

In an effort to dispel a persistent rumor that police had to look for the vehicle at one of the girls’ homes, Sgt. Kelly Hodge of the state police said the families of all three girls came forward with information about the crash within 24 hours of the occurrence.

“The driver and her parents, as well as the two passengers and their parents, voluntarily gave statements to myself and another agent Sunday evening,” Hodge said. “All of these people have been cooperating with the investigation.”

Hodge added there is no indication Armstrong or her passengers had any relationship with Lock beyond attending the same school.

Deters added he is still waiting for reports from a forensic pathologist and crash reconstruction specialist before releasing more facts in connection with the case.

“As soon as we feel we can, we will get more of the facts out,” he said. “But the experts haven’t told me their conclusions.”

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 132 or


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