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Truck Driver Charged in I-55 Accident that Killed 4

Road accidentA truck driver from Leesburg, Indiana was arrested this past Tuesday and charged with two class 4 felonies, falsifying a log book and willful violation of a log book, after he was involved in a multi-vehicle crash that killed four and left four others injured.

Francisco Espinal-Quiroz, 51, crashed his tractor-trailer into three vehicles which were stopped in construction traffic around 2:15 on Monday afternoon on Interstate 55 near Elwood, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago. Four people in the stopped vehicles were killed, including an eleven year old girl. The tractor-trailer was passing vehicles in the left lane when it made an abrupt lane change striking the rear of one of the vehicles and crushing two cars and a van. Witnesses describe the tractor-trailer as traveling at a high rate of speed and the traffic at a dead stop.

Prosecutors allege that he was traveling at least 15 miles per hour over the construction zone speed limit at the time of the crash and there was no evidence that Espinal-Quiroz applied the brakes before the crash. Investigators determined that Espinal-Qurioz had actually started driving at 2:30 a.m., 12 hours before the accident, but had falsified his log books to show he started at 6 a.m.

Truck drivers are limited to eleven hours on the road in Illinois. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed a new rule, in March of this year, requiring all trucks to use electronic logging devices (ELD’s) in their vehicles to improve compliance with the safety rules that govern the number of hours a driver can work. Tragedies like these illustrate the reasons why.

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