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Illinois van driver loses control, injures passengers

Illinois readers might know that commercial vehicle and mass transit operators are subject to additional regulations, compared to other motor vehicle drivers. Since such individuals are charged with the safe transport of large groups of passengers, they need special licensing and may also be subject to additional training or safety checks.

However, it's unclear whether the driver of a church van that was recently involved in a motor vehicle accident on Interstate 70 held more than an ordinary driver's license. Authorities believe that a 15-passenger van lost control for unknown reasons on a recent weekday morning near Vandalia, Illinois. As the vehicle veered off the road, the unstable surface of the shoulder added additional instability, and the van flipped over several times.

Although the van was not at maximum capacity, some of its 11 passengers may not have been wearing seat belts. Specifically, five passengers were thrown from the van as it tumbled. When the vehicle came to a stop, five passengers had sustained fatal injuries, and the remaining six required medical attention for their personal injuries.

Deputies from the local sheriff's office are still investigating the cause of the accident. However, the surviving family members, as well as the other injured passengers, may have some hard questions to ask the driver. Although alcohol ma not have been involved, it is unclear whether the van operator's driving was negligent. If the operator was not qualified to operate a vehicle of that size, a jury might also consider that evidence of negligence, as well.

Source: cnn.com, "5 dead in Illinois van crash," May 20, 2013

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