Illinois authorities have asked for help in identifying an individual killed in a fiery crash on Interstate 55 in Illinois on the morning of July 25. The chain reaction accident involved two semi-tractor trailers and three other vehicles. Police say that the unidentified accident victim was so badly burned that personnel from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office were unable to tell if they were dealing with a man or a woman.
While police say that the cause of the crash remains under investigation, reports do indicate that the accident took place in the southbound lanes of Interstate 55 at about 11:00 a.m. Details of the sequence of events remain sketchy, but police believe that a chain reaction began when a semi hauling frozen meat struck a stationary pickup truck and pushed it with great force into the rear of a minivan. The impact pushed the minivan into and under a second semi, which was pulling a trailer loaded with more than 17,000 gallons of paint. The second semi then struck a sedan.
First responders arrived at the fatal truck accident scene to find the two large commercial trucks as well as two other vehicles engulfed in flames, and it was not until firefighters had brought the blaze under control that the fifth vehicle involved was discovered. The accident caused Interstate 55 to be closed to all traffic for several hours as a hazmat team was brought in to ensure that spilled paint and other debris posed no danger to road users.
Accidents that involve speeding trucks plowing into a line of stationary vehicles can be particularly deadly, and they often occur as the result of negligent behavior. While personal injury attorneys may seek compensation for accident victims by filing lawsuits against impaired, distracted or reckless truck drivers, they could also initiate litigation against trucking companies when insufficient training, lax maintenance protocols or a failure to follow safety regulations causes their clients to be harmed.