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Million-dollar bail for driver accused in fatal truck accident

Illinois State Police say that 51-year-old truck driver from Leesburg, Indiana, is responsible for a multi-vehicle crash that killed four people and injured four others. Police say the truck driver was traveling in excess of posted speeds on July 21 when he attempted to abruptly change lanes in a construction zone on I-55 near Arsenal Road in Elwood, Illinois.

The accident happened around 2:30 p.m. after the truck driver allegedly failed to reduce his speed before entering the construction zone. Prosecutors are now also implying that fatigue may have played a role in accident. Investigators took a close look at the defendant's logbook, which is a record of driving hours all commercial truck drivers are required to maintain. Prosecutors have since charged the defendant with falsifying a logbook, willful violation of a logbook and failure to reduce speed.

Officials say the defendant claimed to have begun his work shift sometime between 6:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. but in reality, the defendant began driving much earlier at around 2:30 a.m. The defendant's bail was set at $1 million, and he is currently still in custody.

Since the accident, officials have been poring over the defendant's traffic history going all the way back to 1991. The defendant has at least three citations for speeding. His also been cited for disregarding a traffic control device and driving without a valid license for the type of vehicle he was operating.

Illinois is a major crossroads for commercial tractor-trailers operating throughout the country. Due to our central geographical location, Illinois residents are exposed to a high volume of commercial tractor-trailer traffic.

Illinois residents who are injured as a result of a fatigued, impaired or distracted truck driver should know that Illinois law provides civil remedies for victims to obtain compensation. Depending on the circumstances, a motorist injured in a truck accident can be awarded money for their injuries, lost wages and other related expenses.

Source: NBC Chicago 5, "Truck Driver Held on $1M Bail in Fatal I-55 Chain Reaction Crash" Lauren Petty, Jul. 23, 2014

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