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Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on July 30th, 2012,
by Zane Cagle

Interstate 70 Semi Truck Crash Claims Lives of Mother and Two Daughters

Posted on July 30th, 2012 by Zane Cagle

Interstate 70 Semi Truck Crash Claims Lives of Mother and Two DaughtersA tractor-trailer crash claimed the lives of a mother and her two daughters last Friday on Interstate 70 in Bond County. My blog has frequently talked about serious injuries and fatalities along I-70.  According to the Illinois State Police, the accident occurred a few minutes before 9 p.m. at milepost 48.  Witnesses shared with investigators that there were several deer passing the roadway which forced cars to slow down suddenly or even stop in order to avoid hitting the deer according to KSDK.

The  41-yr old mother/driver slowed to avoid hitting a deer but then a second deer ran onto the interstate which forced her to come to a complete stop.  A tractor-trailer then crashed into the back of her vehicle.  The driver of the semi-truck was a Union, Missouri man and it was indicated that he did not have time to stop.  He was injured and taken to an area hospital.  Not only did the 41 yr-old woman lose her life, but her daughters, ages 6 and 8 were also killed in the tragic truck accident.

As a frequent driver on I-70, this story is disturbing and alarming.  As I-70 is an interstate, the traffic is usually fast and heavey, with little room for exceptions such as vehicle trouble or sudden slow downs or stops.  As a driver, are your only options to hit a deer or be rear-ended?  In the scenario above, it would seem that way.  We don’t often think of an interstate as a frequent deer crossing, but in fact, during some times of the year, interstates can become deer crossings—often with tragic results.  If a motorist hits a deer while traveling the interstate speed limit, the results can cause serious injuries to motorists.

In prior blogs, I have talked about emergency roadside workers being killed while trying to assist motorists on the side of interstates.  Blowouts, car trouble or anything that creates a different flow in interstate traffic can frequently cause accidents.  When a semi-truck is involved, the weight involved increases sometimes up to an additional 80,000 pounds.  It is not easy to stop an 80,000 lb truck.  One of my initial questions is “Why was the following distance of the semi-truck”? Meaning, was the semi-truck driver following too close to the victim’s car to allow for safe stopping distance.  Surely, this is one of the questions investigators will seek to answer during the investigation.

After a serious semi-truck accident, an in-depth investigation is crucial. Experts can recreate the accident scenario from facts and witness statements. As well, a great deal of vital investigative information can be gained by examining the vehicles, tire marks and victim’s injuries.  While this may seem grisly to think about, loved ones will eventually want to know all of the reasons and facts causing the accident. Also, family members may have to file an insurance claim against the tractor trailer company and driver.  Investigative information is critical when negotiating a claim. Semi-truck drivers are held to a specific standard including operation and time driven.  The reason semi-truck drivers and companies are held to a different standard than personal motorist is because they are operating exceeding large pieces of equipment.

While all of the investigative reports and facts do not bring back the lives of the mother and her two daughters, this information could be helpful in preventing more accidents that are similar. As Interstate 70 statistics and information are reviewed by groups such as the state department of transportaion and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all information is helpful in developing safer roads and highways.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi-truck accident, seeking advice and legal information from a personal injury attorney is just smart. Finding out all of your options early after the accident is always best. Many people that I talk to realize the true financial devastation of the situation many months or years later after such a tragedy.

Unfortunately, due to statute of limitations which varies from state to state, I cannot help people if they wait for too much time to pass.  Obviously, in the first few weeks, all family members are in shock and it is difficult to think about the future let alone one’s financial future.  Calling a personal injury attorney and getting them involved insures that investigations will be conducted.

You always have the option to not pursue a case.  The days and early months following a crash are critical because items in an investigation can be destroyed or by nature, go away (items such as tire marks and other natural occurrences).  Call Zane T. Cagle at 1(314) 276-1681, where consultations are always free. I understand how difficult seeking information during a tragedy like this is.  You should not have to make life changing decisions unadvised during such a tragic time in your life.