CHESTER, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois judge has ordered a mental evaluation of a man accused of setting a house fire that killed four children.
The mental fitness examination for 33-year-old Derrick Twardoski was requested Monday by James Kelley, his Randolph County public defender.
A hearing on the testing's outcome is scheduled for June 20.
Twardoski has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder in the May 10 deaths in Percy, a village about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis. The fire killed siblings ages 12, 9 and 5-year-old twins.
The county's state's attorney, Jeremy Walker, has said he doesn't consider the fire random. Although he's declined to say why authorities suspect Twardoski set it or whether Twardoski knew anyone who lived in the home.
A quick traffic note. MoDOT is closing 170 between 70 and 270 until 3PM on Monday.
They are giving Ameren crews time to restring power lines over the interstate. Drivers are encouraged to use 70 or 270 as a detour.
The call for sandbaggers at Portage Des Sioux had been answered.
St. Charles County officials say no additional volunteers are needed. KTRS's Michael Golde was at the scene earlier today and said that within an hour of the request for help on Monday morning, the number of sandbaggers nearly doubled.
Officials say the situation could change, it is unknown how long work on the sandbagging will continue.
A history-making flight is winging its way to St. Louis.
A solar-powered airplane called Solar Impulse took off this morning from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport bound for Lambert. The plane flies about 40 mph and the third leg is roughly 560 miles.
Swiss pilot and Solar Impulse CEO Bertrand Piccard tells McGraw in the Morning, just like Charles Lindbergh's first flight across the Atlantic, weight is an issue.
Piccard says, "If we have the weight of a normal airplane the solar energy would never be enough to fly day and night. So we had to make the lightest possible airplane and this was the big challenge to have the weight of a small car or size of a jumbo jet, nobody thought it was possible."
An inflatable hangar has been set up at Lambert-St. Louis Airport to accommodate the solar-powered plane which is set to land at Lambert around 1:00 a.m.Tuesday. You can follow the solar flight at http://live.solarimpulse.com.
A Cahokia school security guard is accused of possessing marijuana with plans to deal it at the middle school where he worked.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that 29-year-old Alvin Golliday of Cahokia was arrested Friday after police found marijuana in his car. They used a dog to search Lincoln Middle School for drugs.
Golliday is behind bars (Monday) this morning on $75,000 bond.
While tornado cleanup continues in some parts of the St. Louis metro area, sandbagging is underway in other parts. The Great River Road is closed between Alton and Graffton because it's under water.
Water surrounds the Con Agra plant off Highway 100 in Alton and the Alton Belle Casino has closed for the first time because of flooding along the Mississippi. The river is expected to crest in Alton on Tuesday at 36 feet -- that's within a foot of the historic flood of 1973.
Alton isn't the only community affected by high rivers. The National Weather Service says the river should crest today 11 feet above flood stage at Grafton.
MoDOT has closed Highway 94 between West Alton and Highway 67 in northern St. Charles County. The highway is also closed between Augusta, Mo. and Defiance, Mo. in St. Charles County.
Centaur Road is closed behind Spirit of St. Louis Airport at Chesterfield Valley due to the rising Missouri River.
Highway 67 is closed in Herculaneum due to flooding.
The Alton Belle Casino is closed due to flooding along the Mississippi River at Alton.
The River City Casino in Lemay is also closed because the roads leading to the casino are covered by floodwaters from the Mississippi.
Due to power outages affecting several Boeing campuses in north St. Louis County, Boeing is reminding employees to check the company’s employee hotline (800-899-6431), to see if they are to report for their shift Monday. All essential maintenance workers are to report to work as scheduled.
The National Personnel Records Center in North County will be closed Monday due to a power outage from the Friday storms. The center is expecting to have the power restored this afternoon. Employees should check the center’s weather hotline (314-801-0900) this evening for the latest information.
Kratz Elementary School in the Riteneour School District is closed due to the power outage in St. Ann.
Riverview Gardens summer school classes have been cancelled for Monday, June 3rd. The closure is due to storm damage and power outages to the districts four schools hosting summer school.
The St. Louis Archdioceses School, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in Ferguson, Mo. will also be closed on Monday, due to the lack of power from Friday’s storm.
The Ferguson-Florissant school district is making changes to its summer programs, due to Friday’s storm damage to buildings and power outages.
Monday’s summer classes at McCluer High School and Johnson-Wabash Elementary School have been cancelled. Classes will resume on Tuesday, June 4th at the following locations: Johnson-Wabash Elementary summer school will be held at Duchesne Elementary School, located at 100 South New Florissant Road. McCluer High summer school will be relocated to McCluer North at 705 North Waterford Drive. The districts other summer program, Adventure Camp; is being moved to Combs Elementary School located at 300 St. Jean Street in Florissant, effective Monday, June 3rd.
Ameren crews continue to work around the clock to restore power to those affected by Friday night's storms.
The EF-3 tornado carved a 32 mile path of destruction from Weldon Spring to Ferguson and tore down over 200 poles critical to supplying electricity to tens of thousands of customers. Ameren's Michael Moehn says replacing the 70 foot poles is extremely labor intensive.
"This is what we would call sub-transmission lines," Moehn said. "So the way it works is, we have to get this installed first because this feeds substations which then feed neighborhoods. So what we have to do is come in and disconnect everything from the existing poles, and then reset the new pole, and reconnect everything."
Moehn urges anyone who sees a downed pole or power line to stay away from it and call Ameren immediately. (1-800-552-7583)
Moehn says about 90,000 customers were left in the dark from Friday's storms.
He says it is one of the top wind-damaging outbreaks in recent memory. "This certainly ranks up there with the top two or three in the past six or seven years. Again, the amount of sub-transmission with these really high poles, that kind of damage is significant."
Moehn expects most customers will have power restored by later today, although some may have to wait until tomorrow. As of 6:00 a.m. today, 36,000 electric customers in St. Charles and St. Louis Counties were still without power. Another 1,000 customers in Madison County were still in the dark.
It was a big weekend for graduation ceremonies in the St. Louis area, but Friday night's storms forced several to be moved, postponed or both. The storms downed power lines and damaged the Family Arena in St. Charles where five high schools had been scheduled to hold graduation ceremonies over the weekend.
Francis Howell North, Francis Howell Central and Francis Howell high school combined their separate Saturday ceremonies into one mega-graduation at Lindenwood University on Sunday where more than 390 students received their diplomas.
Mehlville and Oakville high schools had reserved the arena for Sunday and instead moved both commencements to Oakville. And power loss at UMSL forced Hazelwood high schools to move their commencement exercises from Saturday, to Sunday.