Off-duty firefighter hit riding motorcycle

By Betty Simpson |

Published 09/26 2013 12:50PM

Updated 09/27 2013 04:00PM

Latest: 3:51 pm, 9/27/13, Friday
URBANA -- The condition of a Champaign firefighter is improving after police say he was hit by a drunk driver. A Carle spokesperson says 53-year old Jeff Ballew is in stable condition.

Specifics of his injuries were not released. Ballew was hit by a pick-up truck while riding his motorcycle Wednesday night.

Update: 6:03 pm, 9/26/13, Thursday
CHAMPAIGN -- Firefighters are holding vigil for one of their own after police say he was hit by a drunk driver. It happened Wednesday night at the corner of Staley and Monticello roads.

Jeff Ballew was last reported in critical condition. He was riding his motorcycle on Monticello Road when police say a pickup truck pulled out in front of him.

Firefighters know a lot about tragedy, but today, it hit closer to home. This is where crews spent their morning, holding vigil for 53-year old Jeff Ballew in his hospital room.

Police say Ballew was hit by 33-year old Garrett Paquin. Paquin was driving his truck on Staley Road. He stopped at the stop sign, but police say he pulled out in front of Ballew's motorcycle.

When police arrived on scene, they say Paquin admitted to drinking before driving and blew over .08. He was taken to the hospital, then arrested. Police say Paquin bonded out early Thursday morning.

Ballew is still hospitalized with firefighters and family by his side. Paquin is due back in court in October.
Original: 12:50 pm, 9/26/13, Thursday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- An off-duty firefighter is hospitalized in critical condition after police say he was hit by a drunk driver while riding his motorcycle. It happened just before 10 pm Wednesday near the intersection of Staley and Monticello roads.

Authorities say 53-year old Jeffrey Ballew, of Champaign, was westbound when a truck pulled out in front of him. Officials say the driver of the truck, 33-year old Garrett Paquin, of Rantoul, stopped at a stop sign before pulling out in front of Ballew.

Paquin is being charged with DUI and failure to yield. Officials say he could face more charges.

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