Car accident takes life of Fighting Illini wrestler Francis Edelen


Photo courtesy of Fighting Illini Athletics

University student and Fighting Illini wrestler Francis Edelen was killed in a supposed hit-and-run on Interstate 57 in Champaign County Wednesday night.

By Eli Schuster, Sports Editor

Redshirt-sophomore wrestler Francis Edelen was killed in a hit-and-run on Interstate 57 in Champaign County on March 21. Edelen, 21, was from Oak Forest, Illinois.

After being behind the wheel for a two-car accident, Edelen got out of his vehicle and was struck by a hit-and-run driver while he was a pedestrian along the roadway. He died from multiple traumatic injuries, according to the Champaign County Coroner’s Office.

The Illinois State Police is investigating the incident as a fatal hit-and-run and is asking for any information on the vehicle that was involved in the crash.

Illinois wrestling coach Jim Heffernan released a statement in a press release Thursday morning.

“This is shocking news for our team and coaching staff as no words can truly reflect the emotions that we are going through at this time,” Heffernan said. “Francis was a productive member of our program. We are extremely saddened by this news. We just released this news to our team, so the healing process after the loss of a teammate and friend has just begun.”

Director of Athletics Josh Whitman also gave his thoughts.

“Our hearts are broken by the news of Francis Edelen’s passing,” Whitman said. “Losing someone so early in his life when he has so much yet to experience and to give is a tragedy of the highest order. Our thoughts are with Francis’ family and friends. We will come together and draw strength from each other as an Illini family during this difficult time.”

The accident is still under investigation with the help of car accident attorney in Houston and The Daily Illini will continue to report on the incident.


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