Metro-East News

Lawsuit filed over father’s death in highway crash last year

Nearly a year after his father’s death in a crash on Interstate 57 near Marion, a man is suing a semi driver who caused the crash.

Joshua Maxwell’s lawsuit states the death of his father has greatly affected him and his four siblings. Maxwell’s lawyer, Anthony P. Gilbreth, told the BND two of those siblings are still minors.

The suit names Willie Lee Shelby, 63, of Mississippi, and Venture Express as defendants.

Venture Express did not immediately return a call for comment.

Shelby is facing a misdemeanor charge of failing to reduce speed, a misdemeanor traffic offense, in Williamson County where the crash occurred.

The lawsuit alleges that Shelby not only failed to reduce speed to avoid crashing into Wayne Maxwell’s delivery van on Oct. 10, 2017, but also they have reasonable belief that he was on the phone at the time, Gilbreth told the BND.

Shelby was not charged with distracted driving.

Wayne Maxwell, of O’Fallon, was nearly stopped in backed-up traffic near mile marker 44 on Interstate 57. Road construction and rain had slowed traffic. Shelby’s semi crashed into the back of Maxwell’s van, Illinois State Police said, and sent Maxwell’s van into the car ahead of him.

Maxwell died at the scene, police said.

Shelby was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. Police did not say if the third driver was injured.

Mary Cooley: 618-239-2535; @MaryCooleyBND