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Coal City's newest officer dies in traffic crash

Wandt, 30, was attending Police Training Institute

COAL CITY — The Coal City Police Department is mourning the loss of Heather Katherine Wandt, a probationary officer who was killed in a two-vehicle crash near Saunemin early Saturday.

“Everyone here is kind of in shock,” said Coal City Police Chief Tom Best. “I feel for her fiance, family and friends.”

Wandt, 30, of Oswego, was appointed as a police officer for Coal City on July 8, 2013, and was attending the Police Training Institute in Champaign.

According to Best, she was four weeks into the 12-week program.

“It’s a very sad day,” Best said. “It’s very refreshing for veteran law officers to see someone go into law enforcement with so much enthusiasm. To see it end so tragic, it’s tough to see.”

Wandt was traveling north on Illinois 47, near Illinois 116, shortly after midnight Saturday, when she attempted to pass a semi-truck and collided with a southbound pickup truck, according to the Livingston County Coroner’s office.

Wandt was pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident is being investigated by the Illinois State Police, who did not release any information Monday on the driver of the pickup truck nor a possible cause of the accident.

Best said it has not yet been determined if the death is considered in the line of duty.

“It’s still pretty fresh right now,” he said.

Best described Wandt as someone for whom “everything was about law enforcement” and said she had been looking forward to completing her training and serving the Coal City community.

“She was well on her way,” Best said.

“It’s sad that she won’t get the chance.”

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