Galesburg woman accused of running over cyclist may have suffered bipolar breakdown

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GALESBURG, Illinois -- The Galesburg woman accused of running over a cyclist with her jeep may have been suffering a mental breakdown.

On Tuesday, May 9, Galesburg police arrested 45-year-old Jacqueline Wells. Investigators said she intentionally hit a bicyclist, ran over him, and fled the scene of the crash with his bike still stuck under her jeep. The bicyclist had been riding on Highway 26 near Lake Bracken.

On Friday, Wells' 18-year-old son, Jacob Allen, explained that his mom has battled mental illness for years. Allen said his mom was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and usually took her medication religiously.

For some reason, though, he says she stopped taking the medicine a few days ago.

"When you're off your medication, she completely blacks out. She goes from being herself to some other person," said Allen. "Usually there are little signs, her personality starts to change, but I couldn't see it coming."

While Wells is in the Knox County Jail, facing attempted murder charges, Allen is preparing for his high school graduation. He says the past few days have been hard in more ways than one.

"She's the person that helped me achieve everything I wanted to achieve, and she's not here to see me graduate," said Allen. "I'd usually be excited about it, but I mean, what is there to be excited about?"

The bicyclist, Andy Tolle, is recovering at a Peoria hospital, and Allen said he wants to apologize to the Tolle family.

He also wants the community to know that while mental illness isn't an excuse, it's a serious problem.

"She was a caring, loving person. She would never want to harm anybody. I just want to say that picture [her mug shot] doesn't define who she is," said Allen.

Related: Galesburg cyclists send well-wishes to retired police captain

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