Madison County deputy clerk sadly missed by staff

Steve Gonzalez Jan. 31, 2008, 12:00pm

Madison County Deputy Circuit Clerk Janet Bell was laid to rest on Wednesday after suffering fatal injuries in a three-car, head-on collision Jan. 25.

Bell was driving her Dodge Neon east on Illinois Route 143 near Marine on Friday evening when a vehicle crossed the center line and crashed into her. She was pronounced dead at St. Joseph's Hospital in Highland.

According to the Illinois State Police, Austin Bishop of Freeburg lost control of his vehicle, crossed the center line and collided with Bell. Bishop and his passenger were treated at St. Joseph's for non life-threatening injuries.

The third vehicle involved in the crash was operated by Kathy Wuebles of Highland. She was unable to stop and collided with the rear of Bell's vehicle, but was not injured.

Bell worked in the Madison County Circuit Clerk's office for the last eight years in the traffic and misdemeanor division.

"Janet was well liked by everyone associated with the county and will be sadly missed," Madison County Circuit Clerk Matt Melucci said. "Some people just can't be replaced – Janet was one of those truly special people."

Melucci's chief deputy, Judy Nelson, said Bell was a hard worker and always had the ability to make other deputy clerks laugh, regardless of the circumstances.

"She was a pleasure to know," Nelson said. "It was a privilege for every one of us here at the clerk's office."

Nelson also added that Bell's death was a "huge loss" to the office and the tight knit group of employees is still very upset about her death.

Traffic division supervisor Crystal Hale said, "Janet was reliable, honest, loyal and dedicated. She gave her all to whatever she committed to."

Bell is survived by her daughter and 10 brothers and sisters.

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