A Livingston man who was seriously injured in December in a 10-vehicle crash on Interstate 55 is suing the driver of a tractor-trailer and his trucking company.
William McKinney has filed suit in Madison County court. McKinney’s 62-year-old wife, Pauline McKinney, died as a result of the Dec. 15 accident.
In the complaint, McKinney’s lawyer, Craig Anthony Schlapprizzi, argues that the driver of the semi, Richard D. Jordan of Lewistown, caused the accident through “negligence and carelessness” while driving for his employer, Davis Bros Inc.
Police say the 53-year-old semi driver looked down to pick up his tea as he was approaching the construction zone near exit 23, outside Edwardsville. Jordan’s truck struck another car, which caused a chain-reaction crash involving a total of 10 vehicles, according to Illinois State Police Trooper Calvin Dye Jr.
The McKinneys were in the fifth car that was hit in the collision. The two were flown to a hospital.
William McKinney’s injuries were outlined in the lawsuit, where Schlapprizzi argued that they were “permanent and disabling.”
Davis Bros Inc. declined to comment on the case when reached by phone.
Shortly after the crash, Madison County prosecutors charged Jordan, the semi driver, with failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident — a traffic violation. However, the charge was dismissed by prosecutors a day later.
A spokeswoman for Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons did not provide a reason for the dismissal. Gibbons did not return calls seeking comment.
However, Illinois State Police Trooper Calvin Dye Jr. said Friday that police were still investigating the crash. He noted that investigators have been in contact with Gibbons, but findings from their investigation had not yet been formally presented to prosecutors.
In Fulton County, a court clerk said Jordan has one case on record — a speeding ticket from 2012. The charge alleged he was driving 15-20 miles over the speed limit. He pleaded guilty and paid a $120 fine.
The crash was the second multiple-vehicle fatal accident on that stretch of I-55 in recent months. The first occurred on Nov. 21 and killed four women, including two from Staunton and one from Alhambra, when a semi crashed into stalled and stopped vehicles in the southbound lanes
That semi was driven by Mohamed Yussuf Jama, 53, of Greeley, Colorado. No citations or charges have been issued in that crash. The investigation into that crash also was not complete as of Friday, according to Illinois State Police.