Life of a Peoria cook is cut short in a hit-and-run

Life of a Peoria cook is cut short in a hit-and-run

Caleb R. Charlson

Caleb R. Charlson

PEORIA – Caleb R. Charlson was a fine Southern cook who prided himself on making excellent fried chicken and loved hanging out with his extended family.

“She really loved making fried chicken. She took pride in cooking her fried chicken and knew how to cook it exactly the right way so it was never dry or raw. It was juicy and well seasoned,” said her sister Elizabeth. Ross.

Her father was from Mississippi, so they loved Southern-style cooking, she said. And Charlson did it perfectly.

Charlson was found dead on New Year’s Day in the 7600 block of West Plank Road after he was apparently struck by a car. Charlson, 40, who lived at Joan Court in Peoria, was pronounced dead at the scene, Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said in a news release.

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At around 5:40 a.m. Saturday, Sheriff’s deputies and the Limestone Fire Department found Charlson on the road. He had injuries consistent with being hit by a vehicle, authorities said.

No further details have been released. There is no vehicle information. There should be damage to the suspect vehicle, so detectives are asking anyone who has noticed a car that was damaged early Saturday morning to call the sheriff’s department.

Charlson’s autopsy was scheduled for Monday, Harwood said.

He loved to ‘hang out’ with his family

Ross said his brother had moved to Peoria a few months ago after spending about six years in Cookeville, Tennessee, where he had odd jobs and was an “expert in all trades.” Charlson, a native of Peorian, had moved to Tennessee in 2016 to be with her children, ages 18 and 20, she said.

But he missed his family, he and Ross are two of 12 siblings, so he returned home. They have a large extended family, and that was their main love: being with family and friends. He loved to “hang out,” he said.

“He was the guy that people wanted to hang out with when they wanted to have fun. He didn’t do stupid things. When he was younger, he did some stupid things, but he wasn’t that guy who was going to be crazy,” she said. “He made jokes and made you feel like you were the best friend in the room.”

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Ross and the family don’t know what happened on Saturday night. Charlson was known to walk home, but his mother’s house was several miles away. Maybe he was going to a friend’s house or to see a relative, she doesn’t know. And it’s difficult, she said, as her family has never had to deal with a tragic loss like this.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family with funeral expenses.

Ross said that she is not mad at the person who hit her brother, but wants answers and to know what happened. He said he hopes that person will come up and do the right thing. And, for others, he wants them to be careful.

“This can happen to anyone,” he said.

This article originally appeared in the Journal Star: Peoria Man Killed on New Years Day Hit and Run Loved Cooking

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