Illinois I-55 Semi Truck Crash: Truck Driver Risks and Construction Zone Dangers


Illinois I-55 Semi Truck Crash: Truck Driver Risks and Construction Zone Dangers

 

Sadly, our part of the country has suffered another huge commercial truck accident where several victims have been seriously injured or killed in a crash involving a big rig semi truck and a freeway.  

Four people died in a tragic accident on Illinois Interstate 55 back on July 22, 2014, when a semi-truck driving by Francisco Espinal Quiroz of Leesburg, Indiana, crashed into vehicles that were stopped on I-55. The cars were at a standstill; the force of the collision was tremendous.

The victims were setting ducks to the rolling semi truck as they sat on the asphalt where two lanes of I-55 were being merged into one lane of traffic because of freeway construction. It is known that the big rig was speeding at 15 MPH over the speed limit at the time of the accident.

  • Four people died as a result of this big rig accident.
  • Another four people were seriously injured; one had to be airlifted from the site for emergency medical care.

The chain reaction caused by the truck slamming into the row of parked cars meant that some of the cars literally had to be cut apart – a horrific demonstration of the force with which the big commercial vehicle hit the victims setting there on the construction lane.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the truck driver drives for Espinal Trucking, and he is the company’s only employee. FMCSA has no reports of any safety issues with the company. The driver himself has a record of tickets for driving over the speed limit going back twenty years.

Now, it has been revealed that Francisco Espinal Quiroz fudged his logbooks. We know from the truck driver’s admission that he had been driving for 12 hours before the crash. This is over the HOS (hours of service) legal limit of time a truck driver can be driving on the road without a break.

He’s been charged with several felonies, including (1) keeping a false log book; (2) willfully making false entries in the log book; and (3) failure to reduce speed to prevent an accident.

Interstate 55 Construction Zone Danger

The danger of a truck driver driving passed his HOS limit is one problem here. Another is real danger of driving in construction zones. This portion of I-55 has seen not just this fatal and tragic accident involving a big rig and smaller vehicles — other wrecks have happened here as well.

Governor Pat Quinn has announced an investigation into the I-55 Construction project, pointing to 4 accidents there in the past few months.

Big Rig Semi Trucks on Our Highways Are Dangerous Vehicles; Here There are Added Dangers

In this recent crash, several lessons on the real and present dangers of big rig semi trucks sharing the highways with other drivers are given.

  1. Truckers who are pressured to meet a deadline (and make their mortgage, etc.) are going to speed to get that cargo to its destination.
  2. Truck drivers will alter log books (this is why there’s a movement to automate them). This is because they want to stay on the road past the HOS limits to get that cargo delivered.  And get paid.
  3. Finally, construction zones are filled with hazards for all drivers; however, these behemoth vehicles are slow to stop once they get moving and any truck zipping down a freeway into a construction zone will need time and distance to come to a halt. Witnesses in this crash are reporting that the big rig didn’t appear to slow before the crash; however, if there is a question of how much warning this trucker had that a construction zone was in his path.

Our sincere condolences to everyone hurt or harmed in this crash and to their loved ones, families, and friends.

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