Posted On: February 27, 2010 by Steven J. Malman

Jury Awards $4 Million Illinois Wrongful Death Verdict to Children of Couple Killed in Interstate 39 Truck Accident

A jury has awarded Adam and Eric Rautio $4 million in their Illinois wrongful death lawsuit over the truck crash that killed their parents. Faye and Donald Rautio died in a seven-vehicle crash on Interstate 39 in 2007.

The defendant in the Illinois semi-truck case, trucking company Heartland Express, had admitted liability because trucker William Hinds fell asleep at the wheel. This means that all the jury had to do was decide how much should be awarded in damages to the men.

After dozing off, Hinds’s semi-truck struck a Ford Taurus, killing the Rockford woman driving the vehicle and triggering a multi-vehicle La Salle County auto crash. One of the vehicles involved in the truck accident was the Toyota Camry that 67-year-old Donald Ratio was driving. The impact pushed his vehicle into another semi-truck, fatally injuring him and his 65-year-old wife Faye.

Hinds was also seriously injured in the Illinois truck collision. Originally named a defendant in the Rautio’s wrongful death lawsuit, his name was later dropped from the complaint.

Chicago, Illinois Truck Accidents Involving Drowsy Truckers
Unfortunately, drowsy driving is a common hazard when working as a commercial truck driver. Long hours on the road, not enough rest in between shifts, driving alone and without much scenery, and undiagnosed sleep apnea are some reasons why a trucker operating a vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds might become drowsy and fall asleep at the wheel. When this happens, the consequences to the truck driver and others on the road can prove fatal.

Family wins $4 million lawsuit over I-39 pileup, Newstrib, February 26, 2010

Former Minnesota educators die in Illinois car crash, Kare11, 2007

Related Web Resources:
Interstate 39, Interstate Guide

The Drowsy Driver

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