car pileup on kennedy expressway

An early-spring weather mix of snow and ice along with high-speed, distracted drivers caused an early morning 50-car pile-up that shut down the Kennedy Expressway for five hours on Wednesday, April 15. Illinois State Police reports said the crash sent 14 people to the hospital and left another 45 on-scene for medical evaluations. A dozen ambulances responded to the scene.

“Overnight conditions deteriorated. We got some snow. Some icy conditions on the expressway. Vehicles driving at high rates of speed caused the accident,” said Deputy District Fire Chief John Giordano. “It caused an effect where vehicles couldn’t stop behind them because of the high speeds they were traveling, and thus the amount of vehicles we have at this time.”

When road conditions become hazardous, drivers who operate too fast for conditions and while distracted are especially dangerous to everyone they share the road with. The wreck has since been noted as one of the most significant pile-ups experienced on inbound Kennedy at North and involved 46 vehicles, including three tractor-trailers and semi-trucks.

“There are clearly better choices out there especially if you are concerned about the safety of your family.”

 -Dave Zuby, SVP of vehicle research, IIHS

The most recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash test results for midsize SUVs are in, and both the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2018 Ford Explorer received a “Poor” rating, the lowest possible, in front-end collisions involving the right side of the vehicle. Officially called an “overlap crash,” the front end crash tests found that injuries were more likely from collisions occurring at speeds of 40 mph or higher with both cars, specifically to the lower leg and foot for Jeep Grand Cherokee front passengers, and to the high and thigh area for Ford Explorer front seat passengers.

ambulance crash

Bellwood Ambulance Crash Ends in Triple Fatality

Chicago news outlets are reporting that an ambulance traveling near 28th Avenue and Washington Boulevard in Bellwood, crashed into a building, killing three people including a dialysis patient. The tragedy occurred on Saturday, March 31st and took the lives of Excel Ambulance Service driver, James Wesley, 51, a co-worker, Prentis Williams, 51, and the patient, Larry Marshal Jr., 48, who relied on the private company to get to and from dialysis treatment after he recently underwent a surgery. The driver of the ambulance had been Excel’s EMS coordinator for the last decade.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Wesley which showed no acute medical conditions caused or contributed to his death. Authorities say toxicology test results will not be available for several weeks. While the cause of the crash remains under investigation, police officials have told ABC7 that, “there were no skid marks prior to the ambulance colliding with the building.” Several other findings have been presented by the news channel, including:

The CDC defines distracted driving as any activity that involves visual, manual or cognitive distraction. In short, distracted driving refers to anything that takes a driver’s eyes or mind away from the road or anything that involves removing a driver’s hands from the wheel. Finding a song on the radio, checking a phone for directions, texting, talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup, searching for something in the glove compartment, and even talking to a passenger all count as distracted driving. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous because a driver faces all three types of distraction. According to the CDC, in the 5 seconds that it takes to read or send a text, a driver going 55 mph would cover the length of a football field. In 5 seconds, so much can go wrong.

According to 2015 data, the latest results available from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,477 people were killed as a result of distracted driving, the most of any year on record. Of those victims, 67% were teenagers aged 16-19.

Car Accidents the Leading Cause of Death for Teens

It sounds like something out of a movie about the future: millions of Americans sitting behind the wheel of a car, talking, texting, eating, reading, working, putting on makeup or doing one of many other activities, besides actually driving the car. Driverless cars, also referred to as robot cars or autonomous vehicles, are already permitted (under restricted conditions and times) to be on roadways in certain states.

The Government Accountability Organization (GAO) recently released a report that zoned in on the limited measures the government has taken to ensure the safety of driverless cars. The report discusses concerns held by many, including the results of a study that showed most Americans don’t want to be a passenger in a driverless car, nor do they want to be on the same roads and highways as someone else with this type of vehicle.

Software No Match for Human Instinct

Let’s start with some facts about car accidents and smartphones in America:

  1. In the past two years, the number of pedestrians and cyclists struck and killed has increased by 22%
  2. In the past two years, the total number of FATAL car accidents has risen by 14%

The latest quarterly report from the Safety Institute’s Vehicle Safety Watch List shows that Jeep’s 2014 and 2015 Grand Cherokee 4×4’s are holding onto the top 2 most unsafe car rankings.  According to death and injury reports submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s are plagued by power train issues. One of the primarily reported issues in 2014 and 2015 Jeeps is that the car has difficulty recognizing that it has been put into park. This has led to vehicle rollaways, causing crashes, injuries and death.

In June 2016, 27 year old actor Anton Yelchin, best known for his role in Star Trek, died after his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backwards onto him in his driveway.  The lawsuit describes how he was pinned underneath the car, suffering, until he died alone on his own property. His parents are suing Fiat Chrysler, Jeep’s parent company, for wrongful death, alleging that the faulty gear shift caused the car to roll and kill their son. Jeep had recalled over 1 million Grand Cherokees in April 2016 for the defect.

Taken directly from The Safety Institute’s latest report, below is the full list of the 15 vehicles to watch out for:

Rank This Period

Vehicle and Component

Component Definition

Power Train
Power Train Investigations,
and recall
Power Train
Power Train Investigations,
and recall


Electrical No Investigations,
but recall

Foundation Brake

Foundation Brake Investigation,
and recall


Electrical No Investigations,
but recall

2013 CHRYSLER 300
Power Train

Power Train Investigation,
and recalls


Electrical No Investigations,
but recall

Vehicle Speed Control

Vehicle Speed Control Investigations,
and recalls


Electrical Investigation,
and recalls


Electrical  Investigation,
and recalls


Structure No Investigations,
but recall



No Investigations,
but recall


2012 CHRYSLER 300
Power Train

Power Train Investigation,
and recall

Electronic Stability Control

Electronic Stability Control No Investigations,
but recall

2012 VOLVO S60

Steering No Investigations,
No recalls

The Safety Institute has released its Vehicle Safety Watch List, a result of research on the most dangerous vehicles on the road today. The Safety Institute is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for and educating consumers about product safety and injury prevention. The Vehicle Safety Watch List is a quarterly report based on recall and car accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The efforts behind The Vehicle Safety Watch List are funded in large part by the parents of Brooke Melton, a 29 year old woman who died in a car accident after her Chevy Cobalt malfunctioned. After the death of their daughter, Mr. & Mrs. Melton discovered that General Motors was aware of the cause of the malfunction and had not disclosed the information to the public.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4 x 4 Tops the List of Cars to Watch Out For

Jeep’s Grand Cherokee 4 x 4 (make: 2014 & 2015) has taken the 1st and 2nd spot in the list, both for issues with the power train.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a car accident? If so, you may wonder how auto insurance comes into play. In brief, Illinois is defined as a fault car insurance state. What this means is that the person who is found to be at fault for causing the car accident has to compensate people who were injured, or property damage, arising out of the car accident. Normally, in Illinois, the car insurance carrier of the at-fault driver will pay for these costs. There are various car insurance requirements in Illinois.  

Illinois’ Car Insurance Requirements

If you live in Illinois and have a registered motor vehicle in Illinois, the following laws/requirements apply to you. First of all, you, as a driver, must carry at least $20,000 in insurance coverage to cover for injury or death of a person involved in an auto accident (this includes yourself as well as others.)

The holiday season is in full swing, and for many people, this is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. Over the coming weeks, many Americans will be attending or hosting more than one parties or get-together to catch up with their friends and family and celebrate. In this kind of atmosphere, there is no shortage of alcohol, and that’s one of the primary reasons why the period between Christmas Eve and New Years Day continues to be one of the most dangerous times to be on our nation’s roads.

Over the past decade, approximately 41% of all personal injuries and fatalities between Christmas (38% of all traffic deaths on Christmas involve a drunk driver) and New Years Day (54% of all New Year’s Day traffic fatalities involve a drunk driver) were alcohol-related. With that in mind, our lawyers want to remind you that, while we know everyone looks forward to celebrating the holiday season with those close to them, it is incredibly important that we all do so responsibly. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Our law firm want to make sure you and your family get home safely from your holiday parties, so if you are planning on attending one of these gatherings here are some important rules to follow:

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