RAYMOND, Ill. (WAND) - A small town is coping with the loss of not only a neighbor and a friend, but a predominant figure with in the community.
Raymond Police Chief Val Sheldon had just finished her shift and was driving home when a car crossed over the center lane and struck her head-on.
The town's mayor, Dennis Held, says he was one of the first people on the scene of the crash.
"Whenever we arrived on scene, we noticed it was familiar vehicle," Held said. "It was an awful sight to see someone's car you knew. You don't want it to be someone from your own town, let alone your police chief.
"Her anniversary was going to be next month. She would've had nine years as police chief."
Sheldon was considered by many to be an important part of the community - even the town's hero.
Moe Jenkins has lived in Raymond his whole life, and says Sheldon was different from other police chiefs.
"You knew whenever she went by your house, she'd stop and wave,and you knew she'd talk to you about how everything was going," Jenkins said. "It's going to be a tremendous loss."
Montgomery County police and fire departments are now helping keep Raymond safe, so the Raymond departments and residents can grieve.
The mayor says a new police chief has not been named yet.
"It's going to be hard shoes to fill," Held said. "She set the bar high, and it's going to be hard for the next person to come in and pick up the pace where she left off."