Posted Online: April 30, 2012, 3:25 pm

Pekin honors soldier who died in Afghanistan

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PEKIN, Ill. (AP) Thousands have gathered to honor a central Illinois soldier killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

The Pekin Daily Times reports the funeral procession for 23-year-old Army Sgt. Dean Shaffer passed through the city on Monday. Gov. Pat Quinn attended the funeral. The 6 1/2-mile long route was lined with people, including students from Pekin Community High School.

Shaffer and three other soldiers died in the April 19 crash. All were members of the 2nd Battalion, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade based at Schofield Barracks. The brigade is part of the 25th Infantry Division.

They were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed in bad weather during a night flight in Afghanistan on Thursday.