Jay Fitzgerald Killed In McLean County Semi-Truck Accident While Riding Farm Tractor On U.S. Route 51

Jay Fitzgerald Died In McLean County Semi-Truck Accident While Riding Farm Tractor Along U.S. Route 51 Near Heyworth

Jay Fitzgerald Killed In McLean County Semi-Truck Accident While Riding Farm Tractor On U.S. Route 51

MCLEAN COUNTY, ILLINOIS (June 2, 2022) – A farm tractor driver identified as Jay Fitzgerald has died in a McLean County semi-truck accident along U.S. Route 51 by Heyworth.

McLean County officials are saying that the accident took place around 8:40 a.m. on Tuesday. Jay Fitzgerald was driving a farm tractor northbound on U.S. Route 51 when he was hit by a semi-truck also traveling northbound.

The force of the impact caused the victim and his farm tractor to overturn into a ditch. Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help the victim.

Despite life-saving measures, Jay Fitzgerald die due to the severity of his injuries. A full investigation into the collision remains ongoing at this time.

Liability In McLean County Semi-Truck Accidents

Thousands of people are killed or seriously injured every year in truck accidents. There is rarely one factor or event that could cause a truck accident. According to the FMCSA, “Fatigue, drinking alcohol, and speeding are major factors in motor vehicle crashes overall. Although their presence does not always result in a crash, these three factors, as well as other driver, vehicle, and environmental factors, can increase the risk that a crash will occur.” There are a number of steps that truck companies can take in order to prevent collisions.

  • Truck companies should ensure their drivers have the correct license for their rig and a clean driving record.
  • Truck companies should not push their drivers to complete unrealistic delivery expectations.
  • Truck companies can install forward collision avoidance systems and other driver assistance systems to help mitigate or avoid crashes.

Truck drivers must get a commercial driver’s license and are held to a high standard in terms of safety. If a truck driver commits a serious traffic infraction, this could jeopardize their ability to maintain their CDL. There are actually situations where farm tractors are allowed on the road. Pursuant to Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-1418), a farm tractor can be driven on a highway when it “is being used as an implement of husbandry in connection with farming operations.” However, even if a farm tractor was improperly on a roadway, drivers must do everything in their power to avoid hitting it.

All drivers have a legal obligation to exercise due care to avoid hitting other vehicles. This includes following other vehicles at a safe distance. It also requires that drivers maintain a safe and reasonable speed for the prevailing conditions. There is no reason that a driver should ever rear-end another vehicle in their own lane. These types of accidents tend to occur when one driver is distracted, speeding or following the lead vehicle too closely. Indeed, there is a rebuttable presumption of negligence on the part of any driver that rear-ends another vehicle in their own lane.

If the driver of a semi-truck was working at the time of a collision, the company that they were working for could be held at fault. Generally speaking, companies are liable for the wrongful acts of their employees – insofar as those employees were working within their job duties. Moreover, a company could be liable for an accident if they negligently hired a driver. Though rare, some truck accidents do involve truck drivers without the proper license. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any truck accident.

  • Surveillance footage of the accident site should be taken.
  • Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
  • Medical records should be preserved.
  • The accident report for any collision should be reviewed.
  • A thorough, independent investigation should be conducted.

The family of any victim that died in a collision may have legal recourse through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and funeral expenses. Sadly, though, truck companies will often fight hard to deny liability for any collision involving their drivers. This is why it is so crucial that evidence is properly preserved after any collision. A wrongful death attorney can examine all of the facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.

Investigating A McLean County Semi-Truck Accident

We at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates extend our deepest condolences to the family of Jay Fitzgerald. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There needs to be a thorough investigation and some accountability for the sake of the victim’s family.

Do you need more information about a McLean County semi-truck accident? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of consumer safety advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need more information about an accident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at  (312) 564-4256.