Anyone who has ever needed assistance when their vehicle breaks down on the highway knows the sense of relief that happens when someone stops to offer aid. It is comforting to have assistance when it’s needed. For a truck driver in Illinois who was having problems with his rig, that feeling was replaced with horror when one of the men who had stopped to help him was killed and another suffered serious injury.
The tragic accident happened when an Illinois toll worker and a state trooper stopped to help a semi driver whose tractor trailer had broken down. While the three men were attempting to fix the problem, another semi truck collided with the police car that was parked on the side of the roadway. The car hit the toll worker’s vehicle, which was also stopped there, and then rammed into the disabled semi. The three vehicles then caught on fire.
The 39-year-old toll worker died before he could be taken for treatment. The state trooper was taken to a local hospital. He was listed in critical condition at the time of this report but was expected to make a full recovery. The truck driver with the disabled rig was not injured in the accident.
The truck driver who allegedly caused the accident was charged with several felonies. Reports show he had been driving for longer than the legal limit for over-the-road truck drivers. The man was also charged with violating Scott’s Law, commonly called the Move Over Law, which requires motorists to drive in the lane farthest from a vehicle on the side of the road.
Illinois officials who worked with the toll worker have issued a statement offering their condolences to the man’s family. While the sympathy is undoubtedly welcome, it will not replace the toll worker’s presence in his family or the income they surely relied on. They may opt to consider a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver thought responsible and/or the trucking company for which he works. The police officer who suffered a serious injury may choose to pursue a personal injury claim against the same parties. If they are able to receive any financial relief, it could go a long way in easing the burdens they are facing in the aftermath of this tragic event.
Source: Chicago Tribune, Trucker charged in accident that killed tollway worker, injured trooper in fiery crash, Peter Nickeas and Mitch Smith, Jan. 28, 2014