Off-duty Missouri police officer killed in car crash

An off-duty Missouri police officer has been killed in a head-on Illinois crash that also killed a passenger in the vehicle that collided with the officer's car. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that James Ellis had just gotten off work from the St. Louis County Police Department and was heading home to his family in Hecker, Illinois, when the crash happened before 11 p.m. Thursday near Smithton, Illinois. (KWQC/St. Louis County PD)

SMITHTON, Ill. (AP) - An off-duty Missouri police officer has been killed in a head-on Illinois crash that also killed a passenger in the vehicle that collided with the officer's car.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that James Ellis had just gotten off work from the St. Louis County Police Department and was heading home to his family in Hecker, Illinois, when the crash happened before 11 p.m. Thursday near Smithton, Illinois.

Illinois State Police Trooper Josh Korando says another driver apparently was trying to pass a truck on a two-lane highway when the officer's vehicle was struck head-on.

The other victim was identified as 24-year-old Ariah Claybrone, of Memphis, Tennessee. The driver of the vehicle in which Claybrone was riding was taken to a hospital in serious condition.