By RICK HAYES
---- — MT. VERNON — A Continental Tire of the Americas employee was killed in a single-vehicle accident on his way to work Tuesday.Shawn W. Willard, 30, of Mt. Vernon, was pronounced dead at 6:23 a.m., according to Jefferson County Coroner Eddie Joe Marks. Willard died of blunt force trauma due to a deer-vehicle collision, the coroner said.The accident happened shortly before 6 a.m., according to a news release from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. The office received a call reporting a car on fire on Illinois 148, east of Interstate 57, near the old Mt. Vernon Drive-In.Police said upon arrival the vehicle was reported to have been overturned and fully engulfed in flames. According to Marks, Willard was eastbound on the highway when he collided with a deer. The impact of the collision caused the vehicle to spin from front to rear, with the back end of the car hitting a culvert, causing the vehicle's fuel tank to rupture.Jefferson County Fire Protection District, Mt. Vernon Fire Department, a sheriff's office accident reconstructionist officer and the coroner responded to the accident, according to the news release.Willard is believed to be the first fatality of 2013. Coroner Marks responded to an accident earlier this year on Interstate 57 near the Illinois 15 exit, however, the man who was operating a motor home ran off the roadway and died of natural causes.Marks responded to nine fatal traffic accidents in 2012, according to Register-News archives.