Candelight vigil for young women killed in I-55 pileup
The parents of two sisters from Staunton who were killed in a fatal I-55 crash filed a lawsuit against the tractor-trailer driver, his business and a construction company, which is the third such suit filed in the I-55 semi crash that killed four women.
Dean Bertels and Cassandra Loflin filed the suit April 24 as estate administrators of their daughters, Hailey JoAnn Bertels and Madisen Nicole Bertels, who were killed in the Nov. 21 crash. The suit names three parties they claim caused their daughters' deaths through negligence.
Hailey Bertels, 20, and her 17-year-old sister, Madisen Bertels, died at the scene of the accident Nov. 21 when a semi crashed into their car as well as seven others in Hamel.
Tori Carroll, of Alhambra, and Vivian Vu, who was a student at Missouri Southern State University, also died after the crash.
Their two families have also filed lawsuits against the tractor-trailer driver, Mohamed Yussuf Jama; his employer, Forward Air Solutions; and construction company Keller Construction. Keller was involved in road construction in the area of the crash.
In January, lawyers representing Carroll's family filed a wrongful-death suit in Madison County. In March, Phong Vu, who represents Vivian Vu and her estate, also filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court.
All three suits allege Jama acted carelessly when he failed to stop his 18-wheeler while approaching a construction zone, causing a massive multiple-vehicle crash. The suits also claim Forward Air Solutions failed to ensure their hired driver operated in a safe manner.
The suit also alleges Keller failed to keep the public safe by “providing warning of work zone traffic speeds, lane closures, and slowed and/or stopped traffic resulting from the construction work being performed.”
Dean Bertels and Cassandra Loflin are represented by Robert P. Marcus, of O’Fallon, and Theodore J. Bednarek, of Lockport.
Jama was charged with four counts of reckless homicide and eight counts of aggravated reckless driving. He is currently free on bond, pending trial. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 18.