Trucking Firms Settle Claims from 2009 Wilmington Crash
On January 3, 2009, Eugene Hajer was driving his pick-up truck through Custer Township in Will County. As he was traveling between Wilmington and Kankakee on Illinois Route 113, he made a left turn onto a neighbor’s property at precisely the same moment Alfred Criswell, Jr. attempted to pass him. Criswell, who was driving a tanker truck owned by RCD, Trucking Inc., was transporting printing ink for Sun Chemical Corporation.
This is a common type of accident and Lake County truck accident attorneys handle many similar cases every year. In Illinois, it is legal for a driver to cross a double yellow line only if he or she is turning into a driveway as Hajer was doing. It is not legal to overtake another vehicle by crossing a double yellow line. As such, Crisswell negligently ignored the law which resulted in him sideswiping Hajer and causing an entirely preventable accident.
At the moment of impact, the Illinois State Patrol estimated that the tanker was traveling at approximately 55 mph. Further, Criswell’s tanker truck had significantly greater mass and was traveling at a high rate of speed when the accident occurred. This combination of deadly factors crushed Hajer’s small truck and launched both vehicles into the deep ditch beside the road. Hajer suffered life-threatening injuries at the moment of impact and his vehicle was so mangled in the crash that emergency responders had difficulty extracting him from his pick-up truck in order to get him to the flight-for-life helicopter.
Upon arrival at Good Samaritan Hospital located in Downers Grove, Hajer underwent emergency surgery to repair a torn aorta and broken pelvis. Since then, he has undergone regular physical therapy sessions in order to treat his injuries and the permanent nerve damage he sustained in the crash. These injuries will prevent him from ever returning to his profession as an electrical contractor.
Hajer sued RCD Trucking and Sun Chemical Corporation for Crisswell’s negligence. Rather than defending the case in court, RCD Trucking and Sun Chemical Corporation have opted to settle with Hajer prior to the trial which was set to take place in Cook County later this year. The companies have agreed to apportion $18 million of the settlement to Hajer, and $2 million to his wife for loss of income and to cover the long-term care and treatment he will require for the rest of his life.