While Interstate 55 is close to Edwardsville, it’s much closer to Hamel a few miles northeast of us. The busy highway roars by the east side of the village.
Last November, an 18-wheeler failed to slow on the interstate for a construction zone. Eight vehicles were involved in the truck accident that took the lives of four women and injured 11 others. Some police officers who responded to the scene of the crashes said it was the worst they had ever seen.
The trucker who law enforcement officials say is responsible for the series of violent collisions was recently charged with reckless homicide. The Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office released a press release stating that the trucker was driving through the work zone faster than was safe and that he failed to reduce his large vehicle’s speed to account for traffic conditions.
The truck driver now faces four counts of reckless homicide and eight charges of aggravated reckless driving. If he is convicted on all charges, the Belleville News-Democrat says he faces from 3 to 14 years in an Illinois prison for each reckless homicide charge and 1 to 3 years behind bars for each count of reckless driving.
Those who died in the crashes:
- Two sisters, ages 17 and 20, from Staunton. Their car was the first struck by the fast-moving big rig. The younger of the two was a high school senior. Her older sister was a junior at Murray State University.
- A 20-year-old Alhambra resident who was attending Northern Kentucky University’s Chase School of Law. She was a passenger in the sisters’ Kia.
- A 19-year-old Missouri Southern State University sophomore who lived in Joplin.
We hope their families have found some way to cope with their devastating losses.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a truck accident, speak with an attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.