Two people died following a truck crash in Joliet that involved three semi trucks. The accident happened on Tuesday, September 26, on a stretch of Interstate 80 near Chicago, Illinois. It was one of three big rig crashes in Illinois in recent weeks, highlighting the dangers to other motorists who share the road with the big trucks. A separate accident has already resulted in a lawsuit being filed against the semi-truck driver involved.
In all three crashes, semi-truck drivers were cited for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.
Truck Crash in Joliet Involving Three Big Rigs Kills Two
September 26, 2017
The three-truck crash near Joliet happened in the early morning hours at mile marker 129 when one FedEx truck broke down and pulled over to the right shoulder. A second FedEx truck stopped to help the broken down big rig and also pulled over to the right shoulder. A third semi-truck, however, rear-ended the two FedEx trucks.
The force of the collision caused an explosion and a fireball. All three trucks caught fire, according to reports.
Fifty-year-old Sami Guzick, who stopped to help the broken down truck, died at the scene of the Joliet truck crash, while two male drivers suffered serious burn injuries. One of those drivers, 49-year-old Jugoslav Djordjevic, who was driving the FedEx truck that initially broke down, died later in the hospital.
A preliminary autopsy found Guzick died of multiple injuries suffered when the semi hit her. Djordjevic reportedly died from full-body burns.
Beau Loomis, a witness to the crash, said the accident looked like a bad dream.
“There’s a dude on fire, man, I gotta get out and help,” he told ABC 7 he thought at the time. Loomis had a fire blanket and a fire extinguisher and used those to try to help one of the semi-truck drivers who was on fire.
FedEx released a statement following the accident.
“First and foremost we extend our deepest thoughts and concerns to the family and friends of those involved in this tragic incident. We are cooperating fully with investigating authorities at this time.”
The other truck company involved in the Joliet truck crash was from West Side Transport, Inc., in Cedar Rapids, Ohio. The driver of that big rig, Douglass Norfleet, was later cited for improper lane usage. He was also cited for failure to reduce speed to prevent an accident.
Authorities closed Interstate 80 for more than 10 hours following the crash as officials cleared the scene.
Lawsuit Filed Following Kankakee County Truck Crash
September 20, 2017
The family of a man who died in a separate accident, this one near Manteno on Interstate 57, has filed a lawsuit against the driver of the truck that caused the accident. Jake Hemrick, 26, from Tampa, Florida, was the passenger in the front seat of a Toyota traveling south on I-57 in Illinois around 1:00 p.m.
The Toyota was immediately behind a 2016 Freightliner semi-truck when traffic slowed down for a construction zone. The 2010 International semi-truck, behind the Toyota, did not slow down in time and crashed into the Toyota, pushing it into the Freightliner ahead of it.
Hemrick died at the scene, while 24-year-old Michelle Crowe, a passenger in the back seat of the Toyota, died later that night in the hospital. The driver of the Toyota, also from Florida, was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The drivers of both semi-trucks were taken to the hospital with injuries that officials did not believe were life-threatening.
The 68-year-old driver of the International truck that started the chain reaction received a citation for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.
The lawsuit was filed by James Hemrick and alleges the International truck driver was negligent in causing the crash. The driver’s employer, National Carriers of America, is also named in the suit.
Two Injured in Jefferson County Big Rig Accident
September 24, 2017
Meanwhile, two people were injured in a three-vehicle crash involving a semi-truck in Jefferson County, Illinois at around 2:00 p.m. Three vehicles, a Freightliner, a Toyota, and a Peterbilt, were traveling southbound on I-57 at mile post 89.9 when they approached a construction zone. The Peterbilt and Toyota slowed down for the construction zone traffic, but the Freightliner did not. The Freightliner then collided with the Toyota, pushing it into the Peterbilt truck.
Luckily, Tod and Shannon Watson, who were in the Toyota, suffered minor injuries and were treated in the hospital. Isic Mirza, the Freightliner’s driver, was cited for failing to reduce speed to avoid a crash.