Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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:

Shortly after our lawyers published the latest blog entry on the subject of distracted driving on Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a new set of manufacturer guidelines that they believe will reduce in-car distractions and hopefully reduce the incidence of personal injury or wrongful death as the result of distracted driving accidents.

The U.S. Transportation Secretary released the new guidelines to encourage auto manufacturers to limit the potential risk of distraction when designing electronic devices for their vehicles. “Combined with good laws, good enforcement, and good education, these guidelines can save lives,” said the Secretary, “these guidelines recognize that today’s drivers appreciate technology, while providing automakers with a way to balance the innovation consumers want with the safety we all need.”

Issued by the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the guidelines recommend specific criteria for designing the electronic devices that are installed in vehicles going forward, and include proposed limits for the amount of time drivers must take their eyes off the road, or their hands off the wheel. The DOT also recommends that in the future several electronic operations should be disabled within vehicles unless the vehicle is stopped or in park, including all video entertainment, media browsing, and manual text entry systems to name a few. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; U.S. Department of Transportation)

We have all seen the commercials warning drivers about the dangers of drunk driving; everywhere you look there is a “buzzed driving is drunk driving” poster, or a Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) ad. However, in addition to the crusade on drunk driving, many states have started attempting to educate their residents about another danger, “Drugged Driving”.

Illinois has accompanied many other states to send a clear message: drugged driving is extremely hazardous, and won’t be tolerated. The state is sending the message in the courtroom as well.

This Tuesday, a Cook County woman had her charged upgraded from driving under the influence, to aggravated driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance. The Palatine woman is accused of inhaling a compound used for cleaning keyboards and electronics before driving, resulting in a near fatal accident in April of this year.

A 22-year-old woman died recently in a two-vehicle accident in downtown Springfield, Illinois. According to The State Journal Register, the woman died a day after incurring life-threatening injuries in the accident. The other driver in the accident, who was driving a company provided van, only suffered relatively minor head injuries. According to the police, he ran a red light just before getting in the accident with the woman. The woman’s vehicle was knocked over a curb and toppled a tree.

The driver is now charged with aggravated driving while under the influence, and he is currently being held in the Sangamon County Jail on a $250,000 bond. Additionally, the mother of the deceased is filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Sangamon Country against both the driver and the heating and cooling company that owns the driver’s van.

As per the suit, the company is named because the driver was working when the accident occurred and the company “allowed him to drive the van even though the company knew or should have known that [the driver] had a criminal record involving both drugs and alcohol.” As our Chicago car accident lawyers interpret the law, there are many forms of liability ascribed to companies of various types.

Premises liability, for example, is the concept that a company is responsible for what happens on its land or property. In terms of this case, the company’s potential contributory negligence is at issue. In layman’s terms, the company made possible or fostered negligence on the part of its employees by not taking the necessary actions to prevent such potentially negligent actions.
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A serious Megabus accident that occurred this Thursday near Litchfield, Illinois has left hundreds wondering what exactly went wrong. Our Chicago bus accident attorneys read a report by detailing the double-decker bus accident that occurred around 1:20pm. The accident left 1 dead and 33 injured after the bus collided into a concrete Illinois interstate bridge support pillar on Interstate 55, a few miles north of Litchfield in Montgomery County south of Springfield. Police say the bus was running from Chicago to St. Louis and was to stop in Colombia, Missouri before arriving to its final destination in Kansas City.

Traveling at full capacity with a total of 81 passengers, the bus’s collision caused many personal injuries, especially to those who were seated near the front of the bus where the most damage took place. Thirty ambulances, five emergency helicopters, and other emergency vehicles responded to the scene, with rescue crews climbing ladders to reach the passengers trapped inside of the smashed front end of the bus. A 25-year old woman who was seated above the driver on the second floor of the bus was killed upon impact, while 38 others suffered serious injuries and were taken by ambulance or helicopter to St. Louis and Springfield hospitals. 36 additional passengers with minor injuries were taken to a community center in Litchfield by school bus. Some passengers could be seen being tended to along the side of Interstate 55, which was shut down in both directions. Descriptions of the accident included statements of panic and chaos, as many could “feel the bus lose control as it rolled into the median and toward the pillar.”

Our Chicago bus accident lawyers learned that the initial cause of the accident was most likely due to a blown tire. A Megabus spokeswoman stated that the bus passed a full preventative maintenance check within the past week before the accident, causing many to be surprised that the accident occurred in the first place. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that it would work with authorities “to determine if there are safety implications that merit agency action.” Meanwhile, Megabus has stated, “Safety remains our number one priority. The thoughts and prayers of our entire staff go out to the passengers involved.”

Records show that Megabus, a popular intercity service for many since 2006, surprisingly had three accidents occur in 2011 in which one person died in each crash. A total of six bus accidents have occurred in Chicago the last two years. In a recent report by, one Illinois bus customer was not surprised by Thursday’s bus accident. The woman told CBS reporters that she rode on a Megabus this summer that was driven by a distracted driver. She reported that the driver was untangling headphones while driving, in addition using her phone to turn on music, which resulted in the driver taking her eyes off the road and her hand off of the wheel. The driver’s trainer was allegedly sleeping nearby. The woman said that after she woke the trainer up to complain, “He looked at me and the driver and said ‘she’s fine.'”
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Recently, one of our Illinois boat accident lawyers read a report about a 10-year old boy that was killed while tubing on a lake in the northern Chicago suburbs. reports that on Saturday afternoon, the boy from Libertyville, Illinois fell off of an inner tube as it was being towed across Lake Petite, near Lake Villa in Lake County. He was then hit by a passing 29-foot craft and suffered traumatic injuries.

An Antioch Fire Department deputy chief received the report of the accident at 4:39pm after a bystander who witnessed what happened called 911. Boats and divers from several surrounding towns rushed to the scene and found the boy by tracking the mobile phone of the witness. Paramedics then took him to Condell Health Network in Libertyville, where a Lake County coroner later confirmed his death due to blunt force trauma. Authorities say two other people involved in the accident were taken to hospitals with non life-threatening injuries. No one has been cited or arrested for the incident, which remains under investigation.

Our Illinois boat accident attorneys are aware of the number of boating accidents that occur during the summertime and want to urge the public to be more cautious while either driving a boat or simply enjoying the water nearby. Watersports like tubing, water skiing, and jet skiing have become very popular in lakes throughout Illinois for children and adults of all ages, but can also become dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken. Thus, our Illinois personal injury law firm thought it would be helpful to remind our readers of the steps they can take to avoid serious injury while tubing, boating, or sharing the waters with boaters this summer.
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According to an online news report by, bail has been set at $3 million for a West Side man charged with reckless homicide for the deadly hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a Cook County correctional officer. Our Chicago car accident lawyers read that the 38-year old officer was about to begin her overnight shift at the maximum security division of Cook County Jail on July 18th when she was struck by a van while crossing California Avenue near 29th Street around 11pm. Authorities say the van hit the officer and threw her into the middle of the road, where she was then pinned by a sheriff’s squad car. She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and was later pronounced dead.

Police say the driver of the van, a 57 year-old man of the 2900 block of West 25th Street, was taken into custody the following day after police found his van, which matched the description of the vehicle that hit the officer. He admitted to driving on California Avenue the night of the accident and “admitted to hitting something.” Police also talked to someone who told them he had seen the driver drinking alcohol Wednesday night prior to the accident. A judge later set the $3 million bail and ordered the driver to return to court on Monday for a preliminary hearing. Dozens of Cook County correctional officers packed into court for the hearing, saddened by death of the wife and mother of a 6 year-old girl, who had worked with the Cook County Sheriff’s office as a correctional officer for 12 years.

Illinois Secretary of State records show that Bello’s driver’s license was revoked in 2010 from a DUI arrest the previous year. After finally becoming eligible to appear at an administrative hearing to attempt getting his license back, he never applied, according to an office spokesman. Thus, he continued to drive despite the fact his license had been revoked. Bello had received court supervision for a 2002 DUI from LaSalle County, was issued a speeding ticket in 2008, and received a ticket for running a traffic light in 1999. The correctional officer’s husband stated that Bello driving on a revoked license added to the pain because he should not have been behind the wheel in the first place.

Our Illinois car accident attorneys learned that the driver was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident and reckless homicide. He was also cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian, driving too fast for conditions, and driving on a revoked license. An assistant Cook County State’s Attorney stated he “had no regard for following the law” and “presents a clear and present danger” to other pedestrians and motorists.
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A wrongful death suit was recently filed in Will County after an unusual turn of events in a hit and run accident. A Naperville family is filling the suit against the driver that killed their 20-year-old daughter in the accident, claiming more than $50,000 in damages. According to The Chicago Tribune, the driver is being charged with “causing personal injury and leaving the scene of an accident causing a death.” The driver is currently being held in a local prison until his upcoming court date.

The driver claims that the now deceased 20-year-old jumped in front of his car, and when he got out to see what happened he found her still alive and in a reparable condition. However, he fled the scene without calling for help. The 20-year-old was leaving a bar when she was hit.

The reason this case particularly interested our Chicago car accident attorneys is because the identity of the driver was unknown for the past three and a half years. The accident took place in 2008, and the driver has remained unidentified and silent until just recently. He showed up on the doorstep of the 20-year-old’s family and confessed everything that had happened 3 and a half years prior.
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Recently, one of our Illinois car accident lawyers read a report about a mother who struck and killed her young daughter as she was backing her vehicle out of her driveway. reports that the 40 year-old south suburban woman of Steger, Illinois got into her minivan in the 1100 block of Main Street in Crete around 7pm last Wednesday, while her 18-month-old daughter was playing nearby. Police say as she attempted to back her vehicle down the driveway, she unintentionally ran over her daughter.

The report states that police and fire crews responded to the scene and found the girl seriously injured. She was taken to Saint James Hospital and Health Centers in Chicago Heights, where she was pronounced dead at 7:41pm, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. An autopsy completed later the next day determined she died of massive head injuries and her death was ruled an accident.

In a statement given to police at the scene, the woman admitted consuming “several alcoholic beverages” just prior to the accident. She was later given a blood test at Saint James Hospital, which indicated she was above the legal blood alcohol limit for driving. Police have not released her BAC. Police also said the woman was driving while her license was suspended.

The report states that the Will County State’s Attorney’s office recommended two felony counts of aggravated DUI, and bond was set at $1 million. She is currently being held in the Will County Jail with additional charges expected, as police await the results of toxicology tests.

As our Chicago car accident lawyers understand it, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs by one’s self is bad enough when considering that such actions endanger not only the impaired driver, but also all other motorists and pedestrians on or near the road. With that said, drunk driving becomes even worse when children are involved, either as passengers in the vehicle or simply walking or playing nearby, as described in the above report. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), along with the 1,347 child occupant fatalities that occurred throughout the country in 2010, another 34 children died as pedestrians or bikers who were hit by drunk drivers.
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A wrongful death suit was recently filed against an Illinois man who was involved in a fatal car accident last year. As reported by The Chicago Tribune, the man flew through a stop sign without stopping and ended up colliding with another car. The driver of the other car and two of his passengers were killed as a result of the collision. Also named in the lawsuit is the man’s company that supplied him the car involved in the accident.

The family of the deceased is responsible for the suit, claiming that “comfort, society, and valuable services” have been wrongfully taken from them. As per the suit, the driver was negligent in creating unsafe road conditions by speeding through the stop sign. Our Chicago car accident attorneys have experience with many cases such as this. Alas, we offer the to the family the greatest of our sympathy in these hard times. It is with regret that we note the all too common nature of accidents such as this.

According to a 2003 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “nearly 700000 police-reported motor vehicle crashes occur annually at stop signs.” Accordingly, stop sign accidents account for more than 70 percent of all automotive crashes in the U.S. One third of these accidents resulted in injury, or worse.

The statistics are based on police reports from 1996 to 2000 in four major U.S. cities. Frankly, the facts are shocking, albeit illuminating. Failure to adhere to stop signs is a leading nationwide problem that deserves attention. This is especially true when considering that rear-end accidents, often seen as one of the major scenarios for an accident, only constituted 12 percent of all automotive accidents.
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