NTSB Probable Cause Hearing on I-88 Fatal Crash
Posted on February 9th, 2016 by Zane Cagle
Members of the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to announce a cause of a 2014 fatal crash that we have been monitoring the last two years in our blog. The crash occurred on Interstate 88 near Naperville, IL ad occurred when a truck driver hit a string of parked emergency vehicles that were assisting a disabled tractor-trailer.
The Interstate 88 crash resulted in the death of a Illinois toll way worker and seriously injured an Illinois State Trooper.
This morning, the board, tasked by Congress is meting to determine probable cause of the crash. As well, the board will also pass on safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents.
January 27, 2014
According to the NTSB and multiple sources, the crash occurred on the eastbound lane of Interstate 88 near Naperville, IL. At around 7:45 p.m. on the night of the crash, a tractor trailer became disabled in the right lane of I-88. The toll way worker and Illinois State Trooper both arrived separately to render aid to the stalled tractor. As well, a tow truck was called to the scene.
At 9:20 p.m. a 2004 Freightliner and flat bed trailer failed to yield to the stopped vehicles in the right lane and collided with them from behind. The impact caused the toll way help truck to collide with the back of the Volvo, which in turn collided with the back of the heavy-duty tow truck.
As a result of the crash, a post-crash fire consumed the ISP patrol car and spread to the flatbed semitrailer of the Freightliner combination vehicle, near where the patrol care came to rest.
In 2015, the 48 year-old truck driver who failed to yield was convicted of operating a motor vehicle in a fatigued state, failure to comply with hours-of-service requirements, failure to yield to emergency vehicles, and driving too fast for conditions. He was sentenced to three years in prison in April 2015.
According to the published account in the criminal trial, the driver was driving or on duty between 18 and 20 of the 26 hours leading up to the fatal crash. Prosecutors argued that he fell asleep at the wheel as he approached the disabled semi-truck which was surrounded by the toll way driver’s truck, the two truck and disabled semi and the patrol vehicle–all of which had their emergency flashers engaged. The fire that was ignited in the squad car resulted in serious burns to the trooper.
The hours-of-service requirements set forth by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration is meant to reduce the number of tractor-trailer crashes due to fatigue. Large trucks such as tractor-trailers are commercial carriers and as they can haul many thousands of pounds at any given time, they can be a huge threat to other motorists. Commercial truck drivers are like everyone else–they are working as many hours to earn as high of a wage as possible in order to support their families. However, transportation companies must enforce FMCSA regulations and not make unreasonable demands upon their drivers.
A very public example was the crash involving the serious injury of Tracy Morgan in 2014. Because one of the injured parties was a celebrity, many more people became very aware of the dangers of tractor-trailer drivers driving while fatigued.
Involvement in a Crash with a Semi-Truck
If you are in a passenger vehicle and you collide with a semi-truck, the odds of greater injury to passenger vehicle occupants is higher to size, weight and speed of the larger truck. Injuries from these type of crashes tend to be serious if not fatal. Truck crash victims almost always need legal representation. As well, tractor trailers operate under more FMSCA regulations that most individuals are unaware unless they work in the legal field and have experience with tractor-trailer crashes.
If you’ve been injured in a truck crash, then you will absolutely need an attorney to assist you, be certain the evidence is preserved and appropriate investigations are completed and reported. Sorting through insurance after a tractor-trailer crash can be complicated. Adjusters working for the trucking company are not the same level of “adjusters” you get for a small property-damage claim when you get rear-ended by another passenger car.
At The Cagle Law Firm, our attorneys are experienced tractor-trailer accident attorneys.