February 8, 2013

3 Dead And Over 40 Injured In I-75 Multi-Vehicle Accident

by Levin & Perconti

Our Illinois personal injury lawyers recently learned of a terrible multi-vehicle accident scene that caused an excess of injury and damage to those involved. Usatoday.com writes that around 9am, sudden wind gusts and snow showers blew across southbound Interstate 75 in Detroit. A transportation spokesman said that although road crews had pre-salted the expressway’s lanes in preparation for unexpected weather conditions, the show showers quickly turned to ice and caused total white-out conditions beginning on the I-75 bridge. Motorists slammed on their brakes when they realized how slick the roads were, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the eight to ten crashes that occurred within the accident scene.

State Police say that between 150 and 200 vehicles were either involved in crashes or were blocked by accidents. At least a dozen fire and emergency vehicles responded to the scene that stretched for more than a mile, and at least ten flatbed trucks came to assist as well. According to a first responder, one victim’s vehicle was shattered with the back of the vehicle folded up over the front of the vehicle. Many others were totaled, had run into embankments, or had suffered some type of damage. Authorities set up a mobile command post to coordinate how to remove crashed vehicles and handle hazardous material removal because several crash-related fuel spills were reported. Tow trucks remained on site waiting to use heavy machinery to push many vehicles from the road.

Despite the amount of property damage that occurred after the accident, emergency personnel were primarily focused on rescuing injured motorists. A local Police Lieutenant stated that two children, ages 7 and 9, were killed in one accident while their parents and 10-year old sister remained in critical condition. South of that accident, a 54-year old Illinois man died in another crash with a pick-up truck. A dozen additional victims were transported to area hospitals by ambulances and rapid response units with severe injuries. More than thirty people were also treated for injuries at the scene, many of them having suffered blunt trauma from the collisions.

“It’s extremely unfortunate,” a local responder told reporters. “So many families obviously will be devastated by this.”

This large multi-vehicle accident is evidence of the dangerousness of driving in extreme weather conditions. When visibility is reduced due to rain, fog or snow and roadways become slick, the risk of an accident occurring dramatically increases. If you are driving and are faced with unexpected severe weather conditions, the most effective defensive driving technique is to slow down. Always make sure you are able to see clearly by keeping your windows and windshield clear, turning on low-beam headlights and windshield wipers, and maintaining an appropriate distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Avoid fast turns and fast stops; if you begin to skid, turn your wheels in the direction of the skid and glide until you regain control of your vehicle. If weather conditions are extremely severe, it may be necessary to pull over and wait for conditions to subside. If this is the case, refrain from leaving your vehicle at any time.

Remembering these tips will help to prevent serious injury on Illinois roadways when poor weather conditions are present. If you or a loved one has suffered in an accident due to a negligent motorist, please contact our law firm to learn about what compensation may be available to you.