Police Attribute Fiery Head-On Semi Truck Collision to Driver’s Careless Passing

By November 11, 2010Trucking Accidents

As a southern Illinois tractor trailer accident lawyer, I was disappointed to read that two men were killed in a apparently head-on trucking accident near Windsor, Ill. According to Illinois State Police, James W. Adair, 65, of Troy caused the crash when he attempted to pass by moving into oncoming traffic. Instead of passing, his armored truck collided with a tanker truck coming the other direction, tipping over both trucks. The crash killed Harold E. Keck, 70, Adair’s passenger, as well as 49-year-old James Painter of Teutopolis. Adair was hospitalized for undisclosed injuries and ticketed for improper passing.
Adair was driving west on Illinois 16 on the afternoon of Nov. 1. Near the intersection with Shelby County Road 1290 East, he tried to pass a stopped vehicle on the left, but smashed into Painter’s tanker truck. Both trucks overturned into a ditch on the east side of the road, and Painter’s truck burst into flames, killing him at the scene. The tanker truck was designed to carry chemicals such as ammonia. Fortunately, it was empty at the time of the crash, preventing a more serious explosion or a hazardous materials spill that could have threatened the community. Keck, the passenger in Adair’s armored truck, was ejected from the truck even though he wore a seat belt and also died at the scene. The Illinois State Police, Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, and Shelby County Coroner are investigating the accident and the deaths.
At the surface, this seems to be yet another very preventable trucking accident that nonetheless ended in deaths. Unfortunately, that’s something I see a lot in my work as a St. Louis semi trailer crash lawyer. It’s the law, and obviously also the safer choice, that drivers should check for oncoming traffic before passing in an oncoming traffic lane — if passing is allowed at all. Drivers of large, heavy trucks have a special responsibility to make sure that they drive safely because they can do so much more damage than a typical passenger car. Where a collision between two passenger cars could end with survivors, a collision involving a car and a tractor-trailer rarely does. When a truck driver is careless about his or her responsibility to keep other drivers safe, this constitutes negligence — something for which that driver can be held responsible by law. If negligence by the trucking company also contributed, that company can and should also be held accountable.


When a truck driver’s negligence causes a serious accident, victims can sue the truck driver, and his or her employer, for financial compensation for their physical, personal and financial losses. In a lawsuit, victims can recover compensation for medical costs, funeral costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, wrongful death and damage to or loss of relationships with family members. Carey, Danis & Lowe helps innocent victims of negligent semi truck drivers recover the costs imposed on them. If you have been seriously hurt in an 18-wheeler accident through no fault of your own, please contact an experienced Missouri tractor-trailer crash attorney at Carey, Danis & Lowe for a free consultation. You can call us at 877-678-3400, or send us a message online.