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Widow files suit against fatigued driver in truck accident

A truck driver and his employers are facing a civil suit after the death of an Illinois state trooper in March 2013. The trooper's widow officially filed the lawsuit at the end of 2013; she is seeking financial damages from the individual driver, along with several other companies that were overseeing that man's performance and efforts. The 26-year old driver in the truck accident is facing criminal charges in connection with the matter, as federal officials allege that the man violated safety provisions designed to keep other motorists safe.

Authorities say that the accident, which occurred on March 28, 2013, happened when the driver fell asleep behind the wheel on the Tri-State Tollway. He is accused of striking the trooper while the officer was parked on the left-hand side of the road on I-294. The truck accident occurred when the driver of the larger vehicle veered onto the shoulder of the road, plowing into the rear-end of the victim's vehicle. The trooper died when his vehicle caught on fire because of the impact.

The truck driver was working for United Van Lines in conjunction with several other companies, according to news reports. He had violated federal rules by driving over 14 hours without a required 10-hour rest period. The driver has been fined $2,500, while United Van Lines will pay a $5,000 fine.

Although both negligent entities in this case have already been subject to criminal fines, they may also be required to pay financial damages for their role in the trooper's death. Truck driver fatigue is an inexcusable condition that is regulated by occupational safety rules. The fact that this man is also accused of violating provisions designed to keep others safe on the road may lead to significant consequences. The victim's widow may be entitled to seek financial compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress and a variety of other civil claims.

Source: NBC Chicago, "Widow Sues Truck Driver, Moving Companies in Trooper’s Death" No author given, Jan. 10, 2014

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