As a tractor-trailer accident attorney in southern Illinois, I was saddened to read about the death of a state trooper who was hit and killed by a truck driver in the line of duty. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Illinois Trooper Kyle Deatherage died early Monday as he made a traffic stop near Litchfield. Deatherage, 32, was a motorcycle officer who had just pulled over a driver when a semi struck him, killing him at the scene. The truck driver was not identified, and officials did not say whether he or she might be charged with a crime. Deatherage, of Highland, had recently made the switch to being a motorcycle officer in order to spend more time with his wife and two children, ages four and ten months. His funeral is set for Saturday at Triad High School in Troy, his alma mater.
According to the state police, Deatherage had pulled over an unnamed driver just after 9 a.m. in the northbound lanes of Interstate 55. They were near Litchfield, about 62 miles from St. Louis. His motorcycle was parked on the side of the road and he was talking to the driver he had pulled over when the truck hit him. After the crash, the highway was closed for hours while accident reconstructionists worked at the scene. The same stretch of road was the scene of a school bus accident in May and a tire blowout on a bus in August. At a press conference called by the Illinois State Police on Wednesday, officials didn’t say whether they plan to criminally charge the truck’s driver.
The article says Deatherage is the first Illinois state trooper to be killed in the line of duty since 2007, when another trooper was hit by a pair of drunk drivers. It’s good that so much time goes between line-of-duty deaths, but as a St. Louis 18-wheeler accident lawyer, I know that law enforcement officers and emergency responders run a higher-than-normal risk of this kind of crash, because so much of their work takes place by the side of the road. In fact, both Illinois and Missouri have responded to that risk by passing “move over” laws requiring drivers to slow down and, if possible, change lanes when they approach police and emergency personnel working at the side of a highway. That means drivers who hit someone at the side of the road because they aren’t paying close attention are in violation of the move over law as well as their general obligation to drive safely.
At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we represent families from throughout Missouri and southern Illinois who have suffered serious injuries because of a truck driver’s or trucking company’s carelessness. When trucks hit ordinary cars, SUVs and pickups, they can do many times the damage that an accident with a same-size vehicle would do. The greater size and weight of a big rig means that it can bring much greater force to the crash, causing death or catastrophic, life-altering injuries. When this kind of crash happens because of the negligence of the trucker and his or her employer, our Missouri semi truck accident attorneys help victims get the justice and financial compensation they deserve. In a lawsuit, victims can claim money for all of their past and future medical treatment; replacement for lost income when the victim can’t work; and compensation for a life-changing injury or loss.
If your family has been affected by a truck accident that was no fault of your own, don’t wait to call Carey, Danis & Lowe for a free consultation. You can reach us through our website or call 1-877-678-3400.
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