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Driver pleads not guilty to January I-88 fatal truck accident


Driving a truck requires both considerable skill and complete attention to the road and other motorists wherever drivers find themselves, including Illinois. Failing to meet these responsibilities is considered negligence and often leads to truck accidents.

In Wheaton, a 46-year-old truck driver from Hanover Park recently pleaded not guilty to several charges resulting from a multiple-vehicle accident along Interstate 88 in Aurora in late January. A tollway worker was killed, and an Illinois state trooper suffered serious injuries.

According to the charges, the driver was charged with felony counts of impaired or fatigued driving of a commercial motor vehicle, driving beyond the 11-hour and 14-hour rule and falsely reporting his duty status and record. According to prosecutors, the man had only slept for 3.5 hours during an almost 38-hour shift that saw him travel from Illinois to Iowa and Nebraska before returning to Chicago.

The accident occurred on Jan. 27 around 9:30 p.m. The trooper and the worker were helping a stopped semitrailer along the intersection with their emergency lights flashing when their vehicles were hit. The toll worker was killed at the scene, and the state trooper sustained third-degree burns, a broken shoulder and ribs and brain trauma.

Besides the felony charges, the driver was also charged with failure to yield to a stationary emergency vehicle and with failing to reduce speed to prevent an accident. His next scheduled court appearance is for mid-April.

Besides the typical causes of negligence such as distracted driving, impaired driving and disregard of traffic regulations, truck driver fatigue is a major cause of accidents. Fatigue impairs a driver's response time and decision making abilities, both crucial aspects of safe driving. Like the driver charged, Illinois drivers who are suspected of causing an accident because of negligence can be held legally responsible by their victims.

Source: Daily Herald, "Trucker charged in fatal crash pleads innocent," Mar. 3, 2014

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