Charges pending in crash that claimed two lives


A family trip ended in tragedy December 29 when a fatal auto accident at the intersection of Highway 35 North and Earl Johnston Drive in Forest claimed the lives of a Sebastopol girl and her grandmother.

The Forest Police Department, Scott County Sheriff’s Department, and the Forest Fire Department responded to the accident scene at approximately 6:00 p.m. to find two vehicles, a passenger car carrying four people and a pickup truck. Connie Philips, 64, was pronounced dead at the scene and her granddaughter 11-year-old Madison “Madi” McDill of Sebastopol was being transported by ambulance to a Jackson hospital, but died in route at Scott Regional Hospital in Morton.

Forest Chief of Police Will Jones said, “We were dispatched to a two-car accident on December 29. This was a fatal accident that claimed the lives of two passengers and is an ongoing investigation by the FPD.”

The passenger car driven by Tara McDill, Madi McDill’s mother, was turning left onto Earl Johnston Drive when it was struck by a pickup truck driven by a man identified as Ricky Hawkins of Forest.

Madi McDill and Phillips were passengers in the vehicle and were seated on the passenger side which sustained the full impact in the collision. Tara McDill and one of her sons, who was also a passenger in the backseat, were treated for minor injuries and released.

“With every fatal accident we are required by law to conduct field sobriety test on all drivers involved in the accident,” Jones said. “We performed all required sobriety test at the scene of the accident and at this time this is an ongoing investigation with possible pending charges.”

The District Attorney for the 8th District Steven Kilgore said, “the driver of the truck has been charged with DUI and further charges are pending the outcome of lab tests.”

Anyone with information concerning this accident is asked to contact the Forest Police Department.