Drowsy Trucker Charged in Fatal Crash with Police Officer

034.jpg Driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol yet drowsy driving gets relatively little attention, with many drivers every day choosing to drive tired even though they may never consider driving drunk. With similar risks, including a greater chance of causing a collision, drowsy or tired driving is a hazard to all of those on the road.

This can be particularly true in the case of those who drive long distances for a living, like taxi drivers, long distance commuters, and truck drivers. Though laws may exist to limit the time any professional driver spends behind the wheel, every year there are truck accidents that result from a driver being too tired but still unwilling to take a break.

Lawyers who represent victims of these Chicago-area crashes understand that the large size of a semi truck means that it is even more dangerous than a passenger car when a driver loses control, including inattentiveness caused by drowsy driving. These accidents can be severe and, unfortunately, often turn fatal.

It now appears that an accident in March was caused by a truck driver that fell asleep behind the wheel of his rig, leading to a collision with a police trooper’s vehicle and costing that officer his life. This week, officials announced that the truck driver was being charged in the incident for falsifying documents and driving in violation of regulatory laws that limit a truck driver’s time behind the wheel.

The accident occurred on I-294 near Willow Road, the location where an Illinois State Police Trooper was pulled over and stopped on the shoulder of the road. As the semi approached, officials believe the truck’s driver fell asleep, causing the truck to continue on its own and veer off the road surface and onto the shoulder where the trooper’s vehicle was stationed. The resulting collision between the two vehicles caused a significant fire, injuring both drivers and leading to the death of the officer. The truck driver recovered from his injuries and now is facing allegations that he was driving while fatigued, drove more hours than legally allowed in a 14 hour period, and falsifying his hour log that recorded his driving activities. As truck driver conduct is governed by applicable state and federal laws, these violations are crimes that could lead to a prison sentence of up to three years.

If the facts alleged are proven true, this tragic collision should never have occurred and the trooper should still be alive today. By ignoring federal guidelines, the truck driver reportedly put his own schedule ahead of the safety of others on the road and his actions were criminal.

If you have been the victim of a truck accident, you have legal rights that may entitle you to a financial recovery for your losses, including any medical bills you have been forced to incur. Call our legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us provide you with a free case consultation regarding your rights and your options. We have a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day to take your call at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) 529-2442 and we are ready to help you. Call us now and make sure your legal rights are protected.

Prior Blog Entry:

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Draws Attention to Dangerous Behaviors, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published November 5, 2013.

Resources:

Charges filed against truck driver in trooper’s death, by Andy Grimm, Chicago Tribune, published November 13, 2013.