A fiery crash involving several heavy trucks and an SUV on Interstate 64 in southern Illinois left two people injured, one critically. The crash took place near New Baden, at a scene police described as “absolute chaos.” According to Illinois State Trooper Mike Link, the accident happened as traffic slowed down for a construction zone. As a southern Illinois 18 wheeler collision attorney, I have seen many accidents involving semi trucks, like this one, and I am glad that no one was killed in this one. I hope that those who were injured recover quickly and fully.
The accident involved an eighteen-wheeler, a pickup truck hauling a trailer, a U-Haul truck pulling a trailer, a flatbed semi truck and a Chevy SUV. According to WJBD radio, the U-Haul and the pickup truck had slowed or stopped because of the construction zone, and the eighteen wheeler crashed into the U-Haul, smashing it into the pickup. The SUV managed to stop, but the flatbed semi truck rear-ended it and pushed it into the crash. Fire spread through the U-Haul, pickup truck, and eighteen-wheeler. The eighteen-wheeler’s driver was extricated from the wreckage by ten people who pulled him out through the moon roof.
“We had to pull him out through the moon roof cause the semi was trapped on its side,” said James Sheppard, a driver who was able to stop before the crash and got out to help. “He was kind of a big guy, so he was hard to get out. He was a little beat up. I think he was conscious. We were able to walk him to the stretcher and he left. He was bleeding.”
The truck driver was taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville in critical condition, and later moved to St. Louis University Hospital in fair condition. The driver of the flat-bed semi had less severe injuries and was treated and released the same day at St. Elizabeth’s. The westbound lanes of I-64, where the crash occurred, were closed for several hours.
As a St. Louis semi trailer crash lawyer, I’m struck by how often preventable accidents like this happen. We don’t know why the eighteen-wheeler and flatbed semi drivers crashed into the traffic ahead of them, but as I discussed last week, studies show that crashes like this are often caused by the same few mistakes, such as driving too fast, following too closely, and failing to pay attention. It’s also worth noting that large trucks need longer distances to stop from highway speeds, which may be why the flatbed semi couldn’t stop when the SUV could. It’s distressing to think of how many people have been injured and killed because of bad judgments that truckers have made on the road. Trucking industry voices often emphasize that drivers of smaller vehicles need to exercise caution around large trucks, but we don’t hear as much commentary from them about their own responsibility to obey the speed limit and avoid tailgating cars ahead of them in traffic.
Even though the people involved in this crash were lucky enough to escape the worst, they would be wise to consult a Missouri 18-wheeler collision attorney right away to ensure that all their rights are preserved. In addition to injuring at least two people, this crash destroyed people’s vehicles, and perhaps the belongings being carried in the U-Haul. It’s going to be expensive to replace all of these things, and people involved in the accident may find later on that they were injured and didn’t realize it. Truckers’ insurance companies sometimes contact victims while they’re still reeling from the accident, trying to convince them to sign away their rights to sue in exchange for a small sum of money, but this is not in the victims’ interest. An experienced attorney can make sure that victims receive all the compensation they’re entitled to.
If you or a loved one have been hurt by a negligent semi truck driver, please contact Carey, Danis & Lowe for a free consultation. To set up an appointment, please contact us online or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.