City Nights Case: Long-Awaited State Police Crash Report Offers Few New Clues

City Nights Case: Long-Awaited State Police Crash Report Offers Few New Clues
Illustration by Tim Lane
Our recent feature "Left for Dead" focused on a 2009 traffic incident: Anthony J. Rice, a young black male with a clean record, was allegedly mowed down outside the City Nights bar in East St. Louis by a pickup truck. Evidence strongly implicates Reggie Allen, a young white male with an extensive criminal past, as the driver. 

Allen hasn't been charged, but since Rice's death, evidence has been trickling into the public sphere. For example, Daily RFT obtained the crash reconstruction report from the Illinois State Police last week.

The report doesn't give much away on Rice's death, but centers on what came right after: his brother, Aubrey, smashing his Camaro into Allen's white pickup truck.
Rice Allen IL State Police Crash Reconstruction Report jkljkl

The accounts of Allen and Rice differ in at least one respect:  Rice says he and the pickup were heading right for each in a game of chicken. The pickup swerved west, and the Camaro T-boned him.

Allen, however, says the Camaro was right behind him and T-boned him during his U-turn. Why does this matter?

If Allen is telling the truth, then it's very hard to believe what Aubrey Rice has been saying all along: that he had time to see his brother get hit (he was the only witness, as far as RFT knows), and had time to run over to his brother's aid, get back in his car, see the truck returning, and drive toward it to head it off.

It's unclear from the report, however, how near the U-turn tire marks are to the actual site of collision. If they were a bit of a distance from the site, then Rice is telling the truth. But if they were right near the site, then Allen is telling the truth. And that would call into question Rice's account, which will probably be crucial in both the civil and criminal trials. 

The whole incident is a complicated thing to reconstruct. This report, unfortunately, sheds little light on what happened.