Widow of Illinois trooper sues trucking company after fatal crash

Illinois State Police troopers have very dangerous jobs. In order to keep our roads as safe as possible, they put themselves at risk when they pull over drivers and stand outside of their vehicles near traffic. Illinois has a “Move Over” law in order to keep these officers out of danger’s way while they are doing their jobs. Under the Move Over Law, motorists must reduce their speed and move over one lane when an emergency vehicle is stopped with its lights flashing. When it is impossible to move over due to traffic, it is necessary to slow down and pass the scene safely.

When motorists fail to follow this law, the results can be tragic. In November, an Illinois State Police Trooper was killed when he was struck by a tractor-trailer truck during a traffic stop on Interstate 55 near Litchfield. This week, his widow filed a lawsuit against the truck driver and the truck company that was involved in that fatal truck accident.

Oftentimes, commercial truck companies and subsidiaries can be held liable in the aftermath of truck accidents. In this case, the widow has accused the truck company of allowing a driver behind the wheel who was not medically fit to drive, knowing that he was a public safety risk.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has stated that the 51-year-old truck driver lost consciousness before he crashed into the trooper on the shoulder of the road. The department has since banned him from commercial truck driving because of an undisclosed medical condition that reportedly should have made him unable to carry a commercial license.

The trucking company has stated that that it does not employ drivers who are not in compliance with the Federal Motor Safety Act or who do not have valid medical cards. It has maintained that the driver in this incident did have a valid card.

It is not uncommon for trucking companies to deny allegations or even for evidence to be misplaced in cases like these. Truck accident cases are very complicated for these reasons and others, making it imperative to work with skilled legal counsel.

Source: stltoday.com, “Illinois State Police trooper’s widow sues trucking company,” Robert Patrick, Jan. 9, 2013