Jay Fitzgerald Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on US-51 in Randolph Twp, IL
Randolph Township, IL — May 31, 2022, 44-year-old Jay Fitzgerald was killed in a crash with a tractor-trailer on U.S. Highway 51 in Randolph Township.
According to reports the incident happened around 8:40 a.m. on US-51 near County Road 400 North. Preliminary investigation suggests Fitzgerald was riding a farm tractor north on the road when an 18-wheeler, also northbound, hit him for unknown reasons.
The impact sent the tractor off the road; it overturned in a ditch and Fitzgerald was ejected. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.
The investigation is ongoing. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Jay Fitzgerald Accident on US-51 in Randolph Twp
Most of the time when an 18-wheeler crashes into slowed or stopped traffic (even vehicles that can't help but move slowly like tractors), it's because the truck driver made some kind of mistake. That could mean he was driving while fatigued, was looking at his phone instead of watching the road, or was simply traveling at unsafe speeds. In fairness none of those or any other cause were specified in early reports, but those possibilities will likely be considered by investigators.
Of course neither the driver nor his employer are likely to jump forward and volunteer to do the right thing after the crash either. I would expect arguments that the tractor turned into the big rig's path, tok up too much of the road, or was too hard to see if this matter went before a jury. Wherever a trucking defense attorney needs to point fingers to get their client off the hot seat, they're bound to try it.
The best way to overcome all those denials and deflections is to conduct a careful and thorough investigation that accounts for all the possible factors. By learning the true story and finding the proof backing it up, victims are often able to close any "escape routes" for a company trying to argue its way free of responsibility. Without taking those steps many people have been rudely disappointed to see an at-fault trucking company walk away without making things right.