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STREATOR - A 60-year-old Springfield man was the driver killed earlier this week in a car-school bus accident near Streator, the LaSalle County coroner's office announced Friday.

E. Frederick Gain, 60, died shortly after the crash at 6 p.m. Wednesday in which his car collided head-on with a school bus carrying the Pontiac Township High School girls' basketball team, authorities said.

Injuries on the bus were minor.

LaSalle County Coroner Jody Bernard said the name was withheld until Friday so next of kin could be notified.

Illinois State police in Pontiac said the bus carrying 20 passengers was northbound on Illinois 23, eight miles south of Streator, when Gain, traveling southbound, swerved into the path of the bus.

Gain was taken to St. Mary's by ambulance.

He was pronounced dead in the emergency room.

Bernard said results of Thursday's autopsy and toxicology tests were not available.

State police would not speculate on why Gain went into the opposite lane of the two-lane highway.

Passengers and school officials credited driver Steve Atkinson with keeping the bus under control after the accident, avoiding serious injury to his passengers.

A dozen girls were treated at St. Mary's Hospital in Streator and released after the accident.

The passengers of the Pontiac bus were picked up at the accident scene by a bus from Prairie Central High School, Fairbury.

The two teams were going to face each other in Streator that night, but the game was delayed to Thursday night.


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