A multi-vehicle wreck on I-55 outside of Elwood, Ill. on Monday afternoon left four people dead, including a child. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the driver of a tractor-trailer involved in the crash will appear in bond court today.
Illinois State Police said the crash happened at about 2:17 p.m. on I-55 near Arsenal Road outside of Elwood. Three vehicles had stopped for traffic when a tractor-trailer driver crashed into the stopped cars. Witnesses said the driver of the semi appeared to be speeding when he abruptly changed lanes, striking the vehicles.
Four people were killed in the crash. The victims include Ulrike P. Blpeh, 48; Vicky L. Palacios, 54; Kimberly K. Britton, 43; and Piper Britton, 11. Four others were also taken to area hospitals for unspecified injuries.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, Francisco Espinal-Quiroz, 51, was taken into custody and faces felony log book violations. He will appear in bond court today. Espinal-Quiroz was also tested for drugs and alcohol, as mandated by law. The results of those tests are not yet known.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a “large truck” is a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of greater than 10,000 pounds. Often times, these vehicles are tractor-trailers, or semis. In 2012, NHTSA estimates that 3,921 people were killed and 104,000 people were injured in large truck-related accidents in the U.S. That same year, a total of 333,000 large trucks were involved in crashes.
Although overall road accidents have gone down consistently in the U.S. since the 1970s, large truck fatalities and injuries have risen. Between 2011 and 2012 alone, fatal accidents of this type increased by 4 percent, and injuries from large truck crashes rose by 18 percent.