Hero Brothers Saved Lives in Truck Accident

Ken and Daniel Hechtman, Ken’s Restuarant, Skokie (Phil Valasquez, Chicago Tribune)

People never cease to amaze me! Rarely do I include names from news stories, but the Hechtman’s are a great exception! A story I came across in the Chicago Tribune talked about brothers Ken and Daniel Hechtman, who are definitely heroes despite their persistence that it was just a reaction. A semi-truck accident on the Edens Expressway resulted in numerous serious injuries. It could have resulted in several people being burned alive if not for the quick thinking of two brothers, Ken and Daniel. The brothers had just closed their restaurant, Ken’s Diner in Skokie, and were on their way home when a semi-truck swerved in front of them near Tower Road and struck another car and burst into flames.

The brothers stopped their car and rushed to the accident scene even though there were flames and they could feel the heat with every step. According to them, they heard the explosions from the truck twice yet kept heading toward the truck accident, looking for victims. Daniel ran toward the front of the semi-truck and helped a passenger out of the truck. He carried the victim to the side of the road.

Ken Hechtman ran to the back of the truck and heard voices from under the truck. “I heard the screaming, and there was nothing else in my mind (but) to run toward the voices,” said Ken Hechtman. He saw a car underneath the truck with a woman and young girl lying next to the vehicle. The woman’s hair was on fire, and flames covered the back of the girl’s jacket. Heroically, he moved the woman and the girl out from under the truck, put out the fire, and carried the little girl across the expressway.

Another way people surprise me: “It’s one thing to see people standing and watching, “ said Ken Hechtman, referring to the scene. “It’s another to have these senseless people trying to drive around this flaming truck. The truck could have exploded”. So not only did he have to try to put out fires on human beings, rescue them and get them to safety, he had to deal with cars continuing to whiz by the accident, so he had to dodge cars while carrying a victim!

The brothers claim they are not heroes…………………. I would disagree with them. Was it wise to run toward a burning semi-truck? Absolutely not! But what would you do in that same situation? I would like to think I would act a similar way in such a challenge, but you never really know. Certainly, if there is an accident, do not continue at your rate of speed by the accident without slowing and flashing your lights for other vehicles. While it warms our hearts to hear of someone risking their own well-being to help strangers, the most disturbing thing about this accident is that traffic continued to drive by the flaming semi-truck! What irony! The brothers were dodging traffic (those who didn’t even stop for the accident) to carry the victims to safety.

The Illinois State Police said the truck accident occurred around 9:10 p.m. when the truck traveled northbound near Northbrook and struck a car as the truck merged from the right lane to the center lane. The truck driver then veered to the right, striking a second car before losing control and crashing into a wall on the highway’s left shoulder.

Four people were hurt, one critically, and the fact that the witnesses pulled the victims from the burning truck probably saved lives. One person sustained third-degree burns and is in critical condition. The young girl and woman suffered life-threatening injuries. Police have cited the truck driver for improper lane usage, lack of insurance, and failure to display a medical card and logbook.

Semi-truck accidents can be quite different than other motor vehicle crashes for the very reason of the size of a semi-truck ranging from 11,000 to 80,000 pounds. Due to the semi-truck’s size, they are held to a higher standard of safety on the highways by state and federal safety regulations. When they do crash, generally serious injuries and fatalities are the results. It is not for these hero brothers; this article could be reporting several fatalities due to the semi-truck accident rather than serious injuries.

Serious injures are still life-changing. A personal injury attorney that specializes in trucking accidents is crucial if you have been injured in a truck accident. Trucking companies have standards set by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) regarding travel logs, driving time or hours of service, and countless other safety procedures, including maintenance of the truck. Truck drivers, by and large, work hard to drive safely. It is their job, and most of them take it very seriously. However, when a choice is made, and people are hurt as a result of that choice, then the person who made that choice has to be held accountable—just as you are every time you climb behind the wheel of any motor vehicle.

Serious injuries can change your life by not allowing you to do the same work or enjoy various portions of your life at the same level you once did, or it can require a long recovery and rehabilitation process. Certainly, further investigation of this accident will determine all factors involved in the crash. Delving into that investigation with expert knowledge of FMCSA guidelines is something that you need an expert personal injury attorney to do on your behalf. Chances are if you have been seriously injured, then all of your energy must go into your physical recovery and attempts to resume your life.

As attorneys for seriously injured victims and fellow highway travelers, we thank the Hechtman brothers for their heroic actions in assisting the injured truck accident victims.

Our attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm understand trucking accidents and the laws that govern trucking companies. We use experts in accident reconstruction to evaluate the vehicles, terrain, and injuries to determine cause and liability. Our attorneys are available seven (7) days a week to answer your questions. When thinking about your future, you should take advantage of free consultations from personal injury attorneys to gain information about all of your options. Call (314) 276-1681, and I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

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The Cagle Law Firm serves accident and injury clients throughout St. Louis and the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, including the eastern Missouri and southern Illinois communities. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with your personal injury case, call The Cagle Law Firm at (314) 276-1681 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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