Kenneth Bloor Killed, One Injured in Accident on Interstate 55 in Wilmington, IL
Wilmington, IL -- On November 7, 2019, 34-year-old Kenneth Bloor was killed and another person was injured in a multi-vehicle collision in south Wilmington.
Authorities with the Illinois State Patrol say the incident happened Thursday morning on Interstate 55 near Lorenzo Road. Investigators say two semi trucks and two passenger vehicles were stopped in the right lane of the roadway when a third 18-wheeler approached from behind and crashed into the stopped column, triggering a chain reaction.
Bloor was killed in the crash and another person suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries. It is unclear where either person was when the wreck occurred.
State police cited the rearmost truck driver for failing to reduce speed and following too closely.
The citations issued by police to that semi driver feel a bit lacking to me given that someone lost his life in the crash, but I'm sure they have their reasons. Regardless, the news reports seem to make it quite clear that the rearmost truck was responsible for the crash. At least one question still needs answering, though: Why didn't the truck driver stop before hitting all those unmoving vehicles?
Hopefully investigators will turn up a valid answer to that, but one explanation we've increasingly seen is that the driver was distracted. If his eyes weren't on the road where they should have been, then he wouldn't have seen that he had to slow or stop.
So what might have taken his attention away? These days I'd suggest starting with his phone. We used to check a driver's phone records only if they seemed particularly relevant, but now it's one of the first things we look into. Of course, that's rarely as simple as just asking for them.
For example: We worked on a case like the one in Wilmington where an 18-wheeler smashed into traffic and caused serious injuries. We were brought in when the driver's employer refused to admit any fault--pretty standard in commercial wrecks. We asked to see the driver's phone records while gathering information, but the company said the driver didn't even have a phone. We didn't believe that, and when we deposed the driver he told us he actually did have one at the time.
We figured the company had something to hide if they were willing to lie, so we stopped asking nicely and obtained a subpoena, an official court order, to get them. Once we had the records, we found why the company wouldn't hand them: Their driver was watching pornography instead of the road when he crashed.
Even with that significant detail out, the trucking company tried a series of other tactics and arguments before finally taking responsibility for their employee's recklessness.
The specifics may vary from case to case, but the idea is mostly the same: Trucking companies almost never accept responsibility without putting up a fight. No matter how devastating the wreck or how obvious the commercial driver's fault may seem, the burden ultimately falls to victims and families to get the evidence that proves the trucker was responsible. The sooner they get investigators to look into the factors surrounding the crash, the sooner justice can be done.
--Grossman Law Offices