On Jan. 27, a tollway worker and a state trooper pulled over to help the driver of a broken-down semi truck on Interstate 88 in Aurora. A second semi truck crashed into the state trooper's vehicle, driving it into the tollway worker's truck, igniting a fiery blast. The tollway worker died at the scene, and the trooper remains in critical condition.
The driver of the second semi truck has been charged with operating a commercial vehicle while impaired or fatigued because he had apparently been driving in excess of 14 hours before the accident. In other words, he is accused of violating the "11 hour rule" for truckers.
Authorities say the trooper's vehicle lights were on, as was a rear arrow light on the truck signaling for oncoming vehicles to shift lanes. However, the semi driver reportedly did not veer away or slow. As a result, he is also facing charges for failing to reduce speed to prevent a crash and failing to move over for a stopped emergency vehicle.
Although the criminal charges are intended to achieve justice, the family of the deceased tollway worker may choose to pursue a civil wrongful death claim. The accused truck driver is facing charges related to negligence, which must be proven in a wrongful death case.
When a fatal auto accident involves negligence, a wrongful death claim may help the grieving family to recover compensation for the loss of the loved one. The death of a wage earner can be a challenge for families, in addition to the already difficult grieving process. Personal injury attorneys handle these cases, from minor car crashes to fatal accidents like this one.
Source: The Chicago Tribune, "Trucker charged in accident that killed tollway worker, injured trooper in fiery crash," Peter Nickeas and Mitch Smith, Jan. 28, 2014