PEOTONE — The Will County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the deaths of two men who were involved in a motorcycle crash around 11:40 p.m. Saturday.

In a news release, the sheriff’s office said the initial investigation indicates that Jake Murdock, 23, of Manhattan, was driving a 2018 Harley-Davidson motorcycle west on Wilmington-Peotone Road — between Center and 88th Avenue — when he struck a pedestrian, Ethan Ullrich, 26, of Manteno.

The motorcycle continued west, striking a mailbox on the north side of the roadway. Ullrich was pronounced dead at the scene. Murdock was also deceased and located in the roadway when deputies arrived, the release said.

The Sheriff’s Traffic Division Reconstruction Unit is continuing its investigation.

It is unknown at this time if Murdock was still on the motorcycle when it struck the mailbox and if Murdock was initially still alive or deceased while he was lying in the roadway, according to the release.

When deputies arrived on the scene and began their investigation, it was learned that prior to the deputies’ arrival, the driver of an SUV had been traveling east on Wilmington-Peotone Road when she struck Murdock with her vehicle. Murdock was dragged several feet before being disengaged from the vehicle, the release said.

The SUV continued, with the driver believing she had struck an animal, and then her vehicle became disabled near I-57 and Sauk Trail. The driver contacted a family member for assistance who arrived back to the scene to speak with deputies, the release said.

Illinois State Police and sheriff’s deputies spoke to the driver of the SUV and, at this time, no charges have been filed on the SUV driver and no signs of alcohol use were determined during questioning.

Her vehicle was towed to the sheriff’s office where traffic investigators are conducting a thorough investigation into the time, details and occurrences of this accident. It should be noted that this roadway is a two-lane, rural road, with no streetlights in the area, the release said.

The Will County Coroner’s Office will be conducting an autopsy. Manner and cause of death will be determined pending the completion of the reconstruction investigation and toxicology reports.

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at and 815-937-3366.