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Semi-truck crash claims life of former Illinois representative

On the afternoon of July 10, a former Illinois State Representative died after a semi tractor-trailer collided with his vehicle along a Michigan highway. According to the Michigan State Police, the former representative of the Evanston, Illinois area, H. Woods "Woody" Bowman was traveling in a Cadillac along with his wife between Paw Paw and Kalamazoo, Michigan, when the tractor-trailer slammed into the rear of his vehicle.

The accident occurred in Van Buren County, Michigan, along I-94 near the Mattawan exit. Authorities say the 51-year-old driver of the semi-truck may have been distracted by firefighters who are attempting to put out the blaze in the highways median at the time of the accident. Authorities say the force of the impact between the tractor-trailer and the victim's Cadillac caused a secondary collision between the Cadillac and another car. The tractor-trailer responsible for the original collision then struck another semi.

The Michigan police indicated that the driver of the tractor-trailer is considered "at fault" for the accident and the state police have referred the case onto the Van Buren County prosecutor's office for further review. The former Representative's wife was seriously injured in the collision and was taken to an area hospital for treatment of her injuries. Bowman was pronounced dead as a result of his injuries at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In addition to his service as a Representative, Bowman also served as the chief financial officer for Cook County between 1990 to 1994. At the time of the accident the couple was reportedly on their way to attend a special exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Illinois residents who have been injured due to a preventable truck accident should know that state laws allow victims to seek compensation from responsible parties. An attorney with experience handling commercial trucking accidents can assist those injured victims in several ways. For example, an attorney can bring in qualified crash scene investigators who can determine the causal factors related to the accident. In many cases where clear fault can be established the insurance companies representing the trucking companies and their drivers will choose to settle a victim's claims out-of-court. The victim's attorney can prove extremely helpful during these types of settlement negotiations.

Source: Chicago Sun Times, "Former state rep Woody Bowman dies in Michigan crash at 73," Maureen O'Donnell and Fran Spielman, July 13, 2015

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