Last month, in a curious Chicago trucking accident, an 18-wheel tractor-trailer crashed into a south suburban home. The Calumet City crash left the driver dead and three others injured – the driver’s 8-year-old daughter and the two passengers of a car struck by the truck before it hit the home.
The accident occurred late at night, when the passengers of the car were returning home from a youth group event. According to the report of the passengers, a young brother and sister aged 18 and 20, they were driving down Michigan City Road in Calumet City when the truck began to drift out of its own lane and into theirs.
The young man driving the car then began to slow down the car, hoping to avoid a collision. He came to a complete stop, but was unable to avoid the truck, which struck his car, spinning it around and injuring both siblings.
The truck continued on unhindered by the crash, however, and crashed directly into the suburban home. The residents of the home fortunately escaped injury. The couple who lived in the home was asleep at the time of the crash. They were awakened by what they described as a “bang” and an “explosion” which shook their entire home.
After striking the car and the home, the trailer portion of the truck fell onto the back end of the car. The siblings inside were able to crawl from the car and await rescue personnel. The driver’s daughter, however, was trapped inside the cab of the truck until police and firefighters arrived.
The investigation into the trucking accident has not yet been completed, so it is impossible to say with certainty what caused the crash. There is also, as yet, also no explanation for why the driver’s daughter was present in the truck. The facts as described by the passengers of the car, however, suggest a classic but tragic type of trucking accident: a driver asleep at the wheel.
When a large truck drifts into oncoming traffic, a sleepy or asleep driver is the most common explanation. The drivers of large commercial vehicles frequently exceed federal rules, driving for too long at a time with too little rest between shifts.
It is also possible, although less likely, that an equipment malfunction was to blame for the drifting truck. A vehicle which was improperly maintained and serviced can experience steering problems, causing the vehicle to drift despite the driver’s best efforts. If this was what occurred, however, our experienced Chicago trucking accident attorneys would expect the driver to have honked to warn the oncoming car, and made every effort to brake and slow his truck. There is no indication from witness reports that any of this occurred.
When a trucking accident occurs, it is crucial for the victims to take immediate steps to insure that evidence, including the physical evidence at the crash scene and elsewhere, trucking logs, and service records, is preserved. If you have been the victim of a trucking accident, you should therefore contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of obtaining justice.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago trucking accident lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.