A Monee man working on the Illinois Tollway died after being struck by a semi-truck which then fled the scene. The following day a 6-year-old child was also hit by a semi in Walnut. The separate tractor-trailer incidents were only two of a handful of semi-truck accidents around the state in recent weeks, with several others being fatal. Some of those accidents are being investigated by local police.
Tollway Worker Dead After Being Struck by Semi in Hit and Run
September 18, 2017
Forty-eight-year-old David M. Schwarz worked as an equipment operator laborer for the Illinois Tollway since 1992, but that career came to a tragic end on Monday, September 18, 2017, when a semi-truck hit Schwarz and then fled the scene of the accident.
Schwarz and a partner were working on the shoulder of the southbound lanes of I-294 in the Alsip area near Cicero Avenue and 127th when the incident occurred at approximately 12:20 p.m.
“He was picking up debris along the right shoulder of the roadway,” Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Jason Bradley said in a statement.” As he walked back to his vehicle, toward the driver’s side of his vehicle, a semi-truck pulling a trailer sideswiped the worker and his vehicle.”
Both the partner working with Schwarz and witnesses in the area called to report the accident. Schwarz was pronounced dead at 12:43 p.m., according to the medical examiner’s office.
The semi-truck that hit Schwarz left the scene, and Illinois State Police sought both it and its driver. There are no reports as to what speed the tractor-trailer was traveling when it struck Schwarz, but there are signs along the tollway asking drivers to yield to workers in the area.
Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov issued a statement on the hit and run on the Illinois Tollway on behalf of the organization.
“The Illinois Tollway Board and all Tollway staff are extremely saddened by the loss of our co-worker and colleague, Illinois Tollway roadway maintenance worker David M. Schwarz.
David worked on the front line of our 292-mile roadway system, performing duties that included removing snow, maintaining safe roadway conditions, and, most vitally, assisting drivers who were stranded or needed help. He was carrying out his duties when he tragically lost his life.”
Schwarz, a Monee resident, leaves behind a wife and two children. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Illinois State Police.
6-Year-Old Hit by Semi Sustains Life-Threatening Injuries
September 19, 2017
The day after the Illinois Tollway fatality, six-year-old Caleb Clausen was struck by a semi-truck while riding an electric mini-bike. Police officers with the Walnut Police Department say they believe that Clausen was riding the mini-bike in his driveway at about 3:45 p.m. before he went into the roadway and was hit by the tractor-trailer.
Reports have identified the semi-truck as “empty tank” and say that Clausen went under the tandem of the vehicle. Clausen was taken first to Perry Memorial Hospital and then transported by air to the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria for the treatment of life-threatening injuries.
Clausen has already undergone several surgeries for the injuries he sustained in the accident, and his family has set up a Facebook page where they post updates on his condition and new developments. Ben Clausen, Caleb’s father, posted an update on the morning of September 22, 2017, saying that orthopedic surgeons hoped to work on Caleb’s legs that day. A fundraising site was also set up to help with the medical expenses and associated costs of the accident. It had raised $14,792 of its $20,000 goal as of September 22, 2017.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing, but Walnut Police Chief Glenn Lawson said no citations were issued.
One Fatality in Rock Falls Truck Crash
September 17, 2017
A 60-year-old man is dead after crashing head-on into an oncoming semi-truck. The fatal truck accident occurred on U.S. Route 30 near Yeowardsville at approximately 5:00 a.m.
Timothy Ohda, a Rock Falls resident, was driving a Ford Focus westbound at the time of the accident. Ohda crossed over the centerline and collided head-on with a big rig traveling eastbound. No cause has been given as to why Ohda crossed the centerline.
The Illinois State Police responded to the accident, along with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Rock Falls Police.
Rescuers cut Ohda from his vehicle, according to Whiteside County Coroner Joe McDonald, who said that Ohda ultimately died at the scene. Forty-two-year-old Christopher M. Thomas, who was driving the semi-truck that Ohda hit, was uninjured in the crash.
27-Year-Old Man Killed in Chicago Heights Semi Accident
September 17, 2017
Few details have been released regarding a three-car crash involving a semi-truck in Chicago Heights, other than that one man is dead.
The accident occurred around 5:10 a.m. at Joe Orr Road and West End Avenue. The vehicles involved were a 2016 Kia Sportage, a 2010 Chrysler Sebring, and a tractor-trailer.
Officials have not said how the crash happened or in what way the three vehicles were involved, but have said that 27-year-old DeAngelo King, who was driving the Kia, sustained multiple injuries in the crash. King was taken to nearby St. James Hospital after the accident and was pronounced dead there at 7:21 a.m.
The driver of the Chrysler, a 38-year-old woman from Lynnwood, sustained back and neck injuries, as did the driver of the semi-truck.
Anyone who witnessed the accident or has information on it is asked to contact the Chicago Heights Accident Investigation Unit at 708-756-6422.
Collision with Semi Truck in New Lenox Claims One Life
September 6, 2017
An assistant professor at Lewis University was killed in a collision with a semi-truck in New Lenox while in stop-and-go traffic. Seventy-six-year-old Joseph Tomsic was traveling westbound on I-80 in a 2004 Nissan Murano at approximately 8:00 a.m. when the accident happened.
Reports say that Tomsic, who was driving in the left lane, crossed the center lane for unknown reasons and then rear-ended a 2013 Freightliner semi-truck that was traveling in the same direction. Traffic in the area was stop-and-go because of an earlier accident that was still being investigated by police. Tomsic was transported to Silver Cross Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:47 a.m. The semi-truck driver, a 54-year-old resident of Naperville, declined treatment.
Tomsic was the assistant professor of Management Information Systems at Lewis University. The University issued this statement on the crash.
“Joe Tomsic touched the lives of many students over his 17 years of service at Lewis University. He served as a mentor to his fellow faculty members and an inspirational educator to his students. He assisted the university in many ways beyond the classroom, such as serving on a committee addressing the university’s technology.”