An accident on the Reagan Memorial Tollway involving a large commercial vehicle on Jan. 27 has killed a maintenance worker and seriously injured an Illinois State Police Trooper. The truck driver is accused of driving his 18-wheeler while too fatigued to operate the vehicle safely and altering his log book to show that he had spent less time behind the wheel than he actually had. Driving a semi tractor-trailer while impaired, distracted or drowsy is an act of gross negligence, and the driver is facing severe sanctions.
The maintenance worker and state trooper were working to remove a stalled semi tractor-trailer from Interstate 88 near Aurora at about 9:45 p.m. when another 18-wheeler slammed into them. The second truck partially ran over the state trooper’s vehicle, which sparked a fire. Rescue teams arrived to find the vehicles engulfed in flames, and the 39-year-old maintenance worker dead at the scene. The state trooper was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries, but he is expected to recover.
Federal law allows truck drivers to spend no more than 11 hours behind the wheel during a 14 hour period, and it is believed that the driver involved in this accident violated these rules. He is facing a multitude of charges including failure to yield to a stationary emergency vehicle and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.
Large commercial vehicles can be a hazard on the nation’s roads, and the safety of all motorists is reliant on drivers remaining vigilant. When this standard of care is not met, the resulting accidents can cause fatalities and catastrophic injuries. Victims of truck accidents may have legal remedies available to them against the drivers or trucking companies involved. An attorney may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of surviving family members seeking a monetary award to compensate them for any damages that resulted from the car accident.
Source: CBS Chicago, “Driver Charged In I-88 Crash That Killed Tollway Worker“, January 28, 2014