‘Fireball’ Tractor-Trailer Crash Claims Two Lives in Southern Illinois

By August 13, 2010July 17th, 2019Trucking Accidents

Two men died in a fiery tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 70 near Highland, Ill., on August 9. As a southern Illinois tractor-trailer crash attorney, I am always distressed to hear about preventable accidents like this one. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the wreckage from the crash was so great that the highway’s westbound lanes were closed for more than nine hours. The crash killed truck driver Jerald D. Jaynes, 52, of Seymour, Ind., and his passenger William T. Burleson of Greensburg, Ind. Two other motorists, the drivers of a semi and a pickup truck, were taken to the hospital with injuries. In all, the crash involved three tractor-trailers and the pickup.
Jaynes was driving a tractor-trailer that slammed into a line of traffic stopped for an earlier accident. The crash caused a fire that trapped Jaynes and Burleson inside the rig, killing them at the scene. That crash started a chain-reaction crash involving two other tractor-trailers and a pickup truck. One of the semi truck drivers and the pickup driver were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland for treatment of minor injuries. Jason Scott, the driver of the other big rig, was unhurt. He said that he saw the other trucks explode in a fireball and become engulfed in flames. In addition, he said, their tires were exploding, so he was unable to get out and help the other drivers as he had wanted to. Police said that they still weren’t sure why Jaynes wasn’t able to stop before hitting the traffic in front of him. An investigation is ongoing.
As a St. Louis semi truck wreck lawyer, I have worked on many cases involving semi truck crashes, and they frequently can be attributed to one of a few common causes. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study looked at the causes of large truck crashes and determined which causes are the most common. Drivers making poor judgments, like driving aggressively or too fast, following too closely, or making illegal maneuvers, accounted for a whopping 38% of large truck crashes. Another 29% of crashes were caused by drivers who were distracted or daydreaming. The many state and federal regulations of truck drivers and trucking companies are meant to minimize these issues by requiring drivers to get enough rest, get training, follow the rules of the road and take care of their vehicles. Failure to do any of these things not only violates regulations, it constitutes negligence, or carelessness that could hurt someone. Unfortunately, 23% of the crashes that the Large Truck Crash Causation Study considered were fatal, and another 29% involved incapacitating injuries.


As a Missouri semi truck accident attorney, I see firsthand that semi truck crash victims and their families spend a long time picking up the pieces of their lives. They incur expenses for funeral costs, medical treatments, lost wages, and auto repair or replacement. When a negligent truck driver or trucking company causes injuries or deaths, victims and their families can sue those responsible for these costs as well as lost quality of life and pain and suffering. Receiving compensation for the harm done to them cannot restore their lives to the way they were before the accident, but it can at least make it easier for the victims to move forward. The attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe have substantial experience representing victims of serious accidents with commercial trucks. We work hard to level the playing field for our clients, starting with explaining their rights and protecting them from illegal behaviors, pressure or harassment by insurers. We will work our hardest for every client to ensure that they receive the fullest possible financial compensation.
If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a serious trucking accident, please call on Carey, Danis & Lowe for help. We offer free, confidential case evaluations, so there’s no risk in speaking to us about your rights and your options. To set up a consultation, please contact us online or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.