Two moving companies and a truck driver are facing a lawsuit by the surviving widow of an Illinois state trooper who died when a truck hit his parked car and caused it to burst into flames. The lawsuit contends that the truck driver dozed off while driving. The 26-year-old male trucker also faces criminal charges in which the prosecution claims that he worked a 12-hour shift before getting behind the wheel of his semi on the Tri-State Tollway on the date of the fatal truck accident.
Prosecutors argue that the driver violated federal safety rules aimed at keeping fatigued drivers off the highways. Drivers who work long shifts of 14 hours or more are supposed to get 10 hours of rest before driving on. The driver has already been fined $2,500 for violating that rule, and one of his employers was also fined $5,500.
Fines and criminal punishments, however, do not offer any compensation to the widow of the state trooper killed by this alleged reckless conduct. For that, the widow's wrongful death lawsuit was needed.
The trooper was parked on the highway's left shoulder when the trucker's vehicle swerved over while allegedly dozing off, causing a collision with the rear of the trooper's car at approximately 11:03 p.m. The trooper was swallowed up by the flames that emanated from his vehicle, and he died from burn injuries. Also, the trucker was pulling a load of household goods in his trailer estimated to weigh in excess of 26,001 pounds. With that much weight and force behind the impact, death or serious bodily injury was a foreseeable consequence of the accident. The widow in this case was right to at least attempt seeking civil damages.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Widow sues truck driver, moving companies in trooper’s death" Jon Seidel, Jan. 09, 2014