Articles Posted in Trucking Accident

Many motorists driving large vehicles such as semi trucks, tractor/trailers, or pick-up trucks travel on Illinois roadways each day, and much is expected of these motorists in order for them to reach their destinations quickly and safely. Large vehicles are not the easiest to maneuver and can potentially become dangerous for not only the truck driver, but also other motorists and pedestrians on the roadway. Therefore, it is critical that truck drivers travel attentively and responsibly, properly maintain their vehicles, follow regulations, and take all steps necessary to remain safe behind the wheel. Unfortunately, many drivers choose not to uphold their responsibilities and make decisions that lead to serious accidents and injury on the road. This was the case on Sunday when an Elgin man was charged with drunken driving after he allegedly ran a stop sign and struck an SUV carrying three individuals.

At about 2am, the driver, whose pick-up truck had open containers of beer inside, drove through a stop sign on Hastings Street in Elgin and struck an SUV approaching on Liberty Street, according to Chicagotribune.com. The pick-up truck T-boned the SUV with such force that the entire floor of the SUV fell from its framework. The pick-up truck continued traveling until it crashed into a nearby fence, while the SUV hit a parked car.

Our truck accident lawyers learned that authorities arrived to the scene shortly after the accident and transported the driver of the pick-up truck, as well as the driver and passengers of the SUV, to nearby hospitals. None of these individuals’ injuries were declared as life threatening. However, the driver of the pick-up truck was found to have had a blood alcohol level of 0.17, more than double the legal limit of 0.08, according to an Elgin Commander. As a result, he was charged with two felony counts of driving under the influence. Police say he is expected in bond court this week.

Reviewatlas.com recently reported on an accident that occurred between a car and a pickup truck on Monday night just north of Roseville. Illinois State Police say an unidentified passenger-vehicle driver was traveling on Business Route U.S. 67 at 6:50pm when it was struck by an oncoming extended cab pickup truck, driven by a 55-year old man of Roseville.

Our Chicago truck accident law firm learned that according to a statement made by authorities, the driver of the passenger vehicle was traveling in the right lane and attempted to pass another car “at a high rate of speed” when it approached the oncoming pickup truck. It then veered back into the right lane, but “spun out clockwise back across the centerline and in a collision course with the truck” (Review Atlas). Police say the front of the pickup then struck the vehicle’s passenger side.

The driver of the passenger vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene. The pickup truck driver was transported to a nearby medical center and was treated for non-life threatening injuries; he was listed as in stable condition Monday night. Police say both drivers were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident, but an investigation is ongoing to determine if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Last month, an Illinois State Police trooper was killed when a semi truck collided with his squad car. According to Chicago.cbslocal.com, the 28-year old trooper was pulled over on the left shoulder of Interstate 294 near Willow Road in northwest suburban Northfield Township just after 11pm when he was hit behind by the semi. It was not clear why the trooper was stopped or if his vehicle’s emergency lights were on. Witnesses told investigators that they saw the semi, a United Van Lines truck, in the left lane before the crash.

After the impact of the collision, both vehicles burst into flames. Witnesses say it was hard to even make out the squad car among the tangled and burnt metal. A later autopsy determined the primary causes of the trooper’s death were thermal injuries from the fire, as well as inhalation injuries and minor head injuries. The truck driver walked away from the accident with nothing but a burnt hand.

As of a few weeks ago, the medial examiner’s office ruled the trooper’s death an accident and the semi truck driver was not charged with any crime or wrongdoing related to the accident. But now, our wrongful death lawyers have learned that after further investigation, recent reports obtained by Sun-times state the semi driver fell asleep behind the wheel before his vehicle veered out of its lane and struck the trooper. The trucker was initially issued a ticket for improper lane usage but it was dismissed soon after, according to a state police spokeswoman. Authorities are continuing to reconstruct the site of the crash to find out additional details relating to why the crash happened, and higher charges may result. Among the things that will be looked at are the trucker’s driving history, how many hours he had been behind the wheel without a break, and the results of drug and alcohol tests administered as required by state law after a fatal accident.

Charges have been filed against a driver who caused a fatal accident early Tuesday on the Dan Ryan Expressway in which alcohol was a factor, killing the 25-year old driver of a pickup truck. Chicago.cbslocal.com reports that the two-vehicle accident happened at about 12:30am in the southbound lanes of the interstate when a 52-year old crew cab truck driver of Chicago suddenly crossed from the far right lane to the far left lane of the five lane highway near 95th Street and struck the pickup truck. Witnesses told police that both trucks then hit the median wall, crossed traffic again, and hit the right wall of the interstate before finally coming to a rest.

Our truck accident attorneys learned that the driver of the pickup truck was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn at 1:05am Saturday, autopsies determining that he died of serious head injuries from the collision. Family reports that the man was heading home from his shift at work when the crash occurred. The driver of the crew cab truck, however, was uninjured in the accident and submitted to standard field sobriety tests administered by Illinois State Police troopers on the scene. His blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.109, more than the legal limit of 0.08, according to a police report. He was charged with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in the death of a man and was held in lieu of $350,000 bail in a midday hearing in Cook County Bond Court on Wednesday.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration lists that the number of drunk driving fatalities in Illinois in 2011 was 278, with the percentage of traffic deaths that were drunk driving related being 30%. This was a decrease from 2010 in which 292 fatalities took place and the percentage of drunk driving related deaths was 32%. Though this decrease is certainly positive, organizers such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Alliance Against Intoxicated Driving (AAID) say one accident is still too many. “It’s a problem that’s always going to be around because people drink and it’s socially acceptable. It’s totally unacceptable to get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking,” stated a member of AAID. “One in three families will be impacted by drunk drivers,” stated a member of MADD. “So if you’re sitting in a row of three people, it’s not the two of them. It’s going to be you.” Reports from Abclocal.com state that both organizations have launched awareness campaigns with the goal of keeping roads safer this summer.

Our Illinois truck accident lawyers recently learned of an accident that occurred when an overcrowded van experienced tire problems and rolled over several times, killing the driver and injuring nineteen other people involved. Washingtonpost.com released that the crash took place at about 7:10pm on Saturday in a small Florida community about sixty miles southeast of Orlando. Highway Patrol officials reported that the rubber from at least one tire separated from the van’s wheel, causing it to roll over towards a center median of the road.

Investigators say the van was holding about fifteen people when it overturned, in addition to numerous pieces of luggage from the passengers. A forty-six year old woman was ejected from the van and was pronounced dead at the scene. Three people in the van had to be airlifted to nearby hospitals with moderate injuries. Many children were also injured, although the report does not specify if the children were passengers in the van or not.

Authorities say that in total, nineteen people were injured as a result of the accident. Troopers are currently trying to determine how many times the van rolled, as well as how many people were wearing seatbelts. A highway patrol spokeswoman describes it as “very fortunate” that only one person was ejected considering the large number of people inside.

Cbsnews.com reports that four Chicago-area teens from Wilmington High School were killed last Tuesday when their vehicle overturned and plunged into Forked Creek. An accident attorney at our firm learned that the victims, two boys and two girls ranging from fifteen to seventeen years old, left their homes on Monday evening and never returned. A bus driver near Ballou Road spotted their car and bodies around 7:30am Tuesday morning in Wilmington, about fifty miles southwest of Chicago. A tow truck was called to pull the car from the water, and officials worked to remove the bodies from the wreck. The cause of the accident is currently unknown, but police believe there may have been run-off water coming over the roadway from the creek and possible ice that contributed to the vehicle overturning.

The occurrence of this accident was especially significant for our lawyers because the teenagers were among fifteen who have been killed in three major accidents since last week. Five teens were killed in Texas when their vehicle ran a stop sign and collided with a fuel tanker truck. That same day, six Ohio teens were killed when their SUV sped off a stretch of roadway at eighty miles per hour and flipped into a pond.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes have been declining in all parts of the country, dropping from 8,748 in 1975 to 3,115 in 2010. However, the risk of being in an accident is three times higher for teens than any other group of drivers. Accident injuries are the leading cause of death for individuals aging from thirteen to nineteen years old. Even more, Illinois ranks twelfth in the country for fatalities in crashes involving young drivers by state.

Starherald.com recently released that the trial of a truck driver charged with killing an entire family in a multiple-vehicle accident has been scheduled for September. Our accident lawyers learned that the 36-year old driver’s arraignment hearing took place in January, in which a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf on four counts of manslaughter, four counts of motor vehicle homicide by willful reckless driving, and one count of motor vehicle homicide of an unborn child by driving recklessly.

The report states that the family consisted of a 30-year old man from Maryland, his 28-year old wife, and the couple’s two and three-year old children. The family had been among other drivers stopped on Interstate 80 as emergency crews were responding to a previous accident. The couple was driving separate vehicles at the time. Allegedly, the truck driver drove onto the scene, failing to notice the emergency lights or slow down for the stopped vehicles, and struck the husband’s vehicle. The force of this collision pushed his vehicle into his wife’s car, which was forced underneath a semi-tractor trailer. All family members were killed upon impact. The woman was pregnant at the time of the crash and her unborn child also died.

State police say that when the accident occurred, the truck driver had been driving for more than fifteen hours, violating commercial motor vehicle federal regulations. He also failed to observe radio traffic and other warnings that would have alerted him about the accidents on the interstate. He remains in a local jail on a $1 million bond, and a pre-trial conference is scheduled for late-May.

According to an online news report by Suntimes.com, two vehicles were involved in a fatal accident at 95th Street and LaGrange Road near Hickory Hills, Illinois this past weekend. One of our Chicago wrongful death lawyers read that a 51-year-old Crystal Lake woman was driving east on 95th street and had the green light when she entered the intersection. Her SUV was then hit by a pickup truck traveling south on LaGrange road. The 25-year-old Orland Park man ran a red light at the intersection and T-boned the woman’s car. A Cook Country sheriff’s police spokeswoman stated that preliminary investigations indicate the man may have been driving up to 70 miles per hour. The spokeswoman also said the man had made statements that he had been out drinking in Chicago since the evening before.

The woman, a dedicated wife and mother of three, had been traveling to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn where she worked as a part time registered nurse when the accident took place. She was taken to Palos Community Hospital shortly after the accident and was later pronounced dead. The Orland Park driver, who was treated at the same hospital for minor injuries, is now in police custody and is being charged for driving under the influence. There were no other passengers in either vehicle, and no other vehicles were involved in the accident.

As our attorneys reading the above report noted, accidents caused by failing to obey traffic signals can be fatal. However, as of recently, legislation has been passed and signed into law authorizing the use of traffic safety cameras throughout the state of Illinois to decrease the number of these accidents. Specifically, local police departments are using red light cameras to hold drivers accountable for driving through red lights. As recently as February 2012, legislation was also passed to authorize the use of speed cameras in Chicago school and park zones. Governor Pat Quinn outlined his support for these cameras, stating “Reducing speed around schools and parks where children are present is a good policy for Illinois, and I’ve signed the legislation because I think it does have an impact on safety.”

A truck accident lawyer at our firm recently read that the driver of a car that suddenly stopped on the Stevenson Expressway due to a previous collision was killed when a semi plowed into his car. Chicago.cbslocal.com states the accident occurred last Wednesday at about 1:30am near southwest suburban Plainfield. The chain of events leading to the accident started when the 26-year old driver allegedly lost control of his vehicle on southbound Interstate 55 and struck a center median wall. The vehicle then became disabled in the left lane, without its lights on, according to state police. After a few minutes, a second motorist saw the disabled vehicle and stopped to offer assistance. Before both vehicles could be moved from the roadway, a semi truck struck both vehicles near mile marker 260.

The report states the driver of the stopped vehicle was airlifted to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove where he died shortly after. No other injuries were reported. Travel on I-55 was stopped in both directions so the injured man could be airlifted from the scene. By about 3 a.m. both directions were open to travel again, state police said. The exact cause of the accident remains under investigation.

From the perspective of our lawyers, chain reaction collisions similar to the one described in the above report can cause serious injury to those involved. When these collisions include semi trucks or other large commercial vehicles, the likelihood of a serious injury greatly increases. While a stalled vehicle was the cause of this particular chain reaction, others usually occur due to tailgating and failing to maintain a safe distance from others on the roadway. Thus, it is important to always keep your eyes moving to remain aware of other motorists, bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and street signs.

MyFoxChicago.com released that a woman was killed on Tuesday night when a semi truck crossed the median of Interstate 88 and struck her SUV. Our wrongful death attorneys learned that the collision took place at 7:14PM on the toll road between Butterfield Road and Route 56 near west suburban Aurora. Illinois State Police say the semi was traveling east when it went through the grassy median and into the westbound lanes of traffic. Upon entering the westbound lanes, it struck the woman’s SUV head on. The semi stopped in a ditch on the right side of the westbound lanes and caught fire just seconds later, according to the State Police Tollway District Master Sergeant.

The driver of the SUV, a 46-year old woman of southern Illinois, was pronounced dead at the scene. The Kane County Coroner’s office released that an autopsy Wednesday showed the preliminary cause of death was directly related to the accident. Toxicology samples were collected and sent to a forensics lab for evaluation. The cause of the crash remains under investigation; no citations have been issued yet.

Vehicles that cross the centerline are causing an increasing number of fatal accidents on Illinois highways and interstates. Often times, motorists deliberately attempt to cross the centerline with the intentions of changing directions on the interstate. Other times, motorists accidently cross the centerline due to factors like poor weather conditions, impaired driving, or being involved in a previous accident.

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