Rollover accidents are described by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) as “… complex crash incidents and are particularly violent in nature.” These are motor vehicle accidents where the vehicle actually rolls onto its side, or rolls completely over onto its roof, in the crash. Sometimes, rollovers involve the vehicle rolling several times before coming to a halt.
There’s no single cause or reason for a rollover accident. NHTSA explains that there are several factors that combine together, resulting in a rollover accident. These include: the type of vehicle; the road and road conditions; the environment, such as rain or fog or snow; and the driver’s behavior and attentiveness.
Rollover accidents can involve just one vehicle, or they can involve several cars, trucks, or SUVs. Most rollovers are reported to happen on rural roads (over 75% of fatal rollover accidents reported by NHTSA happen on rural roads where there aren’t barriers or lane dividers to block the out-of-control car from rolling).
Drivers in Indiana and Illinois are not immune to having rollover accidents.
However, if you’ve been following the local news, there seems to be quite a lot of rollover accidents happening here.
Our Question: Why are we having so many severe and often fatal rollover accidents here in our part of the country these days?
Recent News Coverage of Serious or Fatal Rollover Accidents in Indiana and Illinois
If you’ve been following the local news for Illinois and Indiana during the past month to six weeks or so, then you already know there are an amazing number of news stories right now about serious rollovers here, involving all sorts of vehicles on a wide variety of roads.
Highways, interstates, and rural roads have been the scene of recent rollover crashes. All sorts of vehicles from huge and loaded semi trucks to small ATVs have been involved.
These are just a handful of examples — there are other rollover accidents that have been reported in the news media which are not listed here.
Consider the following:
A little after two o’clock on a Saturday afternoon last month, an 18 year old young man was driving a vehicle along Illinois Route 40. With him were a little boy (6 years old) and two women (59 years old and 62 years old) as his passengers. As he approached Yates Road, he lost control of the car and veered into the southbound lane. When he attempted to return into his northbound position, the vehicle rolled over and ended up in the roadside ditch. The oldest passenger, the 62 year old woman who hailed from Sterling, died from her injuries.
Early on a Tuesday morning last month, around 1:30 a.m., two men were driving along Route 251 in LaSalle County, Illinois, when they were involved in a single vehicle rollover accident. The 22-year-old passenger was tragically killed in the crash. The driver was airlifted to a Rockford, Illinois, hospital for injuries suffered to both his back and his legs.
Shortly before dawn on a Thursday morning, around 4:30 a.m., a fully-loaded semi truck was rumbling along I-65 in Clark County, going south. At that moment, the big rig’s truck driver lost control of his rig and veered out of his lane, off the roadway, and ended up rolling the semi truck on its side. It landed on the west side of the interstate.
The trucker told police he had been run off the road by another semi truck. He suffered only minor injuries. The Indiana State Police closed southbound Interstate 65 for several hours to investigate and process the scene, as well as getting the big truck back on its wheels again.
Over on I-65 last Sunday evening, there was a serious rollover accident involving an SUV. It was dusk, around 5:40 in the afternoon, when a Toyota Sequoia rolled several times on a slick road before coming to a stop.
The driver, a 41-year-old man from Kentucky, reportedly explained to police that he tried to return to his lane after realizing that he didn’t have enough room to switch into the other lane of traffic. In doing so, he over-corrected and lost control of the SUV. Two minor passengers were thrown from the vehicle. All five occupants, the driver, his wife, and the three kids in the SUV, were taken to the hospital for treatment; one of the children had to be airlifted because of life-threatening injuries sustained in the SUV rollover.
A man and a woman were enjoying a ride on an ATV last Monday evening, when they were involved in a rollover crash. The 53-year-old man driving the ATV lost control of his vehicle as he was trying to drive a curve on Fitch Road, a little way down from where it intersects with Coldwater Road. He was taken to the hospital for medical treatment of his injuries. His female passenger wasn’t hurt. Investigators reported that alcohol may be involved here.
Early last Monday morning, around 2 a.m., a driver lost control of his car on McGirr Road in Dixon, Illinois, as he was trying to take the curve, and there was a rollover. His passenger, a 42 year old woman from Eldena, was thrown from the car in the crash and died from blunt force trauma injuries to her chest and abdomen. The driver was cited for DUI by Lee County Sheriff’s Department.
Roads were closed after a rollover crash on the I-90 westbound and I-39 southbound ramps in Winnebago County, Illinois, after a rollover accident there. In this crash, the vehicle rolled several times down the slope from the roadside. Two passengers died in this rollover accident. One woman passenger was pronounced dead at the scene; another was taken to the Rockford hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.
During the lunch hour yesterday, there was a rollover accident on Interstate 55 in Springfield, Illinois. Traffic backed up as the accident scene was investigated and cleared. Here, the crash began when a Toyota Avalon reportedly rear-ended a Ford Explorer and the SUV driver lost control of his vehicle during the force of impact, resulting in the Explorer rolling over and flipping onto the roadside. Luckily, all the occupants were not seriously injured (note: it’s reported that everyone involved were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash).
Risk Factors for Prevention and Finding Justice for Rollover Victims
In our next post, we will discuss rollover accidents in more detail, including risk factors that face drivers in Indiana and Illinois, how we can try to avoid being victims of rollover accidents, and what the law provides to protect and help victims of rollover crashes to get help and justice. Let’s be careful out there!