A Wisconsin trucker is facing felony charges following a crash he caused in which an Illinois state trooper was killed. The 26-year-old driver appeared in court to face felony charges involving violations of trucking regulations and allegedly falling asleep at the wheel in March. According to Illinois police investigators, the driver of the rig had been driving for two weeks straight without taking obligatory time off and had falsified trucking records.
The patrol car had been idling on the left shoulder of I-294 near Willow Road late at night last week after assisting a motorist on I-94. He had just returned to his cruiser when the crash occurred. According to reports, the driver of the rig had dozed off and the semi smashed into the rear of the patrol car, igniting sparks that resulted in a fiery crash. Attempts to extricate the officer from the flaming vehicle were unsuccessful. Both vehicles were severely damaged in the incident.
The trooper was pronounced dead at the scene several hours later. He was well-liked in his department, having returned to patrol duty after a brief stint as an Air Operations pilot. He had been the recipient of the department Lifesaving Medal after rescuing a woman involved in an accident on I-80 in 2008. After clearing blood from her airway, she was lifted by helicopter and survived her injuries. At his memorial service, the state police director remembered the trooper as a dedicated and unselfish public servant, whose legacy would not be forgotten.
The trucker suffered a burnt hand. He turned himself in to the Illinois state police early the next day, and his court appearance was well-attended by dozens of troopers, colleagues of the officer killed in the line of duty.
Bond was set at $125,000 at the hearing held Wednesday morning.
Automobile and trucking accidents account for a huge number of deaths every year. Some of the most serious and catastrophic of these accidents involve deaths on our public roads. State law requires drivers to exercise reasonable judgment for the safety of passengers and drivers. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a death caused by operation of a motor vehicle on a public road, you should be aware of the rights to representation following a trucking accident or car accident.
Source: chicagocbslocal.com, "Wisconsin Trucker Charged In Crash That Killed State Trooper" No author given, Nov. 13, 2013