Illinois Tractor Trailer Driver who Crashed Into Tour Bus Killing Eight on Trial for Eight Counts of Reckless Homicide

A Chicago Illinois truck driver on October 1, 2003 crashed into a small tour bus killing eight woman all from the Chicago area. Accident reconstructionists estimated that the truck driver was traveling more than 60 mph in a 45 mph constructions zone. In addition, to the speed limit violation, he was charged with failing to inspect his vehicle as required by Federal Regulations, failing to secure his load and failure to properly keep his log book.
The driver of the tour bus involved in the crash at a tollway that killed eight passengers testified Monday that he had little time to react before a truck slammed into the rear of his vehicle.”For a split second, I glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw the truck moving extremely fast,” “All of a sudden we were hit from behind. I was thrown against the steering wheel.”
The truck driver blamed for the crash was charged last year with eight counts of reckless homicide and other offenses. He was returning from Rockford Illinois at the time after picking up a load of cardboard. As traffic slowed for a toll plaza his tractor-trailer truck hit the rear of the tour bus that was carrying members of International Women Associates, a Chicago-based organization.
A National Transportation Safety Board report concluded that the crash might have been prevented if the old-style toll plaza had been replaced by safer open-road tolling. The older plazas increased the incidence of rear-end collisions, the board concluded.
The tour bus driver testified that he began slowing in a construction zone from the posted 45 m.p.h. speed limit about a mile before the crash to about 15 m.p.h. “It was a clear day,” he said. “I could easily see traffic was moving to the right to get into the manual [toll] lanes.”The collision triggered a chain-reaction crash that also involved a pickup truck and tanker truck. There were 15 injuries.
A westbound motorist, testified that he stopped and rushed to the median where the 25-passenger bus had come to rest. “It was the worst thing I’d ever seen,” he said. “Just, people needing help. People were hurt, injured, hysterically out of control. Bleeding all over.”
This accident shows the dangers of trucks driving too fast and failing to follow federal regulations. Trucks weigh so much and can’t stop nearly as fast as cars and need to follow all speed limits and safety regulations. When they don’t, the consequences for innocent motorists and passengers can be deadly like this crash. I have seen this happen too many times in my job in representing people who are injured in truck crashes. Most truck drivers are responsible, but the few dangerous ones gives truck drivers a bad name.