ROCK FALLS, Illinois- 63-year-old Jeff R. Barker was pronounced dead at the scene of a crash on westbound I-88 near Rock Falls.
According to a preliminary investigation, Barker was driving a tractor-trailer when, around 7:30 p.m., the truck veered off the road, struck a tree, and jack-knifed. Investigators are not entirely sure what caused Barker to leave the roadway and continue investigating the accident.
Barker was the only occupant of the truck and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The crash is under investigation. No other information was immediately available.
The cause of the truck leaving the road will be determining factor of recovery
Our firm handles single-vehicle tractor-trailer accidents on a routine basis and helps determine the events leading up to an accident. It is important to determine the cause of the accident to help the family left behind. The slightest malfunction or change in road conditions can lead to tragic accidents, and we want to be sure this family is presented with every opportunity to seek legal recourse in the wake of the loss of their loved one.
In circumstances like this, where there is no apparent cause of the accident, our investigative team looks at potential mechanical failures. Problems with the braking or steering systems, or problems with the truck’s tires, are widespread. Employers have a duty to ensure that their drivers are operating vehicles that are up to date on routine maintenance and are safe to operate. If an investigation finds that Mr. Barker’s employer failed to keep up with routine maintenance and a system or part failed, Mr. Barker’s family may be able to recover against the employer.
Alternatively, we know that the crash occurred around 7:30 p.m. This is right at the end of most workdays, and it is possible Mr. Barker was driving beyond the end of his scheduled shift and was fatigued. Our firm knows all too well that it is common practice among employers to pressure employees to drive beyond legal driving limits. While it is too early to say that was the case here, Mr. Barker’s family deserves an investigation that will explore this possibility.
At the end of the day, a family has lost a loved one and deserves answers, as well as the opportunity to hold any wrongdoers responsible for their actions. We send our deepest sympathies to Mr. Barker’s family, and we hope they will be able to get the answers and relief they deserve very soon.