Media outlets in Illinois have reported that an accident in Monroe County on the afternoon of Feb. 27 claimed the life of a 41-year-old woman and injured her six children. Reports indicate that the woman’s SUV was struck by a dump truck as it crossed the intersection of Illinois State Road 3 and Veterans Parkway at approximately 12:30 p.m. While some accounts of the accident suggest that the 86-year-old driver of the dump truck may have run a red light, other reports state that his vehicle left skid marks on the roadway about 50 yards from the scene of the crash.

An Illinois State Police accident investigation team was dispatched to the scene and used a drone to provide aerial footage of the intersection. However, reports indicate that preliminary investigations failed to reveal the cause of the crash. First responders initially intended to transport the six injured children to St. Louis Children’s Hospital by air, but ambulances were called in when it was learned that all available helicopters were some distance away.

An eyewitness told reporters that the dump truck struck the side of the SUV as it crossed the intersection. She also said that the light had been yellow when she passed it just moments before. Four of the children have since been cleared for release from the hospital according to reports, but a 4-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl were still said to be in critical condition.

Police departments tend to investigate motor vehicle accidents thoroughly when lives have been lost, and their findings may be used by personal injury attorneys to establish negligence in lawsuits filed on behalf of those who have been harmed. This evidence could be crucial even if law enforcement declined to file criminal charges. This is because civil claims are decided based on the preponderance of the evidence and not proof beyond reasonable doubt.

Source: The Belleville News-Democrat, “Columbia accident kills adult, sends 6 kids to hospital”, Kara Berg, Feb. 27, 2018

Source: Fox 2 St. Louis, “Learning more about the family involved in fatal Route 3 accident”, Roche Madden, Feb. 28, 2018