Thomas Cobillas Killed In Belleville Bus Accident By South Belt West and Illinois 159

Thomas Cobillas, 48, Killed In Belleville Bus Crash By the Intersection of South Belt West and Illinois 159

Thomas Cobillas Killed In Belleville Bus Accident By South Belt West and Illinois 159

BELLEVILLE, ILLINOIS (July 21, 2022) – A man identified as Thomas Cobillas has tragically died in a Belleville bus accident by the intersection of South Belt West and Illinois 159.

St. Clair County police officials are saying that the accident took place around 6:50 p.m. on Saturday. Thomas Cobillas was walking when he was struck by the bus.

The bus was operated by Southwestern Illinois College in partnership with the St. Clair County Transit District. Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help the victim.

Thomas Cobillas was taken in an ambulance to Memorial Hospital Belleville. Sadly, though, medical staff were not able to save his life and he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

It remains unclear if the bus driver will face any citations or charges for striking the pedestrian.

Liability In Belleville Bus Accidents

Thousands of people are killed or seriously injured every year in bus accidents across the United States. According to the Journalist’s Resource, there are about 63,000 bus accidents every year. These accidents result in around 63,000 injuries and 325 fatalities on average. Pedestrians and those riding bicycles tend to be the most at risk. There are a number of factors that can make buses particularly dangerous for pedestrians.

  • Buses have large blind spots that can obscure the presence of pedestrians.
  • A fully loaded bus can weigh as much as 33,000 lbs. Even a low impact collision can potentially be deadly.
  • Bus drivers are often asked to work long hours and may become dangerously fatigued.

Buses are considered “common carriers” under the Common Carrier Liability Act (740 ILCS 25/) and are there fore held to a high standard in terms of safety. Operating a bus safely is much more difficult than operating a passenger vehicle. Bus drivers must get proper training and become intimately familiar with how their bus operates. Serious traffic infractions can jeopardize a bus driver’s ability to maintain their commercial license.

All bus drivers must exercise due care in order to avoid collisions. This includes operating their bus at a safe speed as outlined in Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-601). Pursuant to Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-1002), all drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing in a marked crosswalk. When a bus driver fails to yield the right of way to a pedestrian, this could form the basis of a negligence claim.

If a bus driver was working at the time of a crash, the company or municipal entity that operated the bus could potentially be liable. In general, companies are liable for the wrongful actions of their employees – insofar as those employees were working within the course and scope of their job duties. Liability could also extend to the company responsible for maintaining a bus if improper maintenance contributed to a crash. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any bus collision.

  • Photos of the accident site should be taken.
  • Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
  • Surveillance footage around the bus should be reviewed.
  • Surveillance footage from within the bus should be examined.
  • The bus driver’s logbook should be inspected.
  • A thorough, independent investigation should be conducted.

The family of any pedestrian killed in an Illinois bus crash may have legal recourse through a wrongful death claim. But the crash must have been preceded by a wrongful act, neglect or default. Potential beneficiaries in a civil claim may include a victim’s spouse and dependent children. Damages can help cover many of the unexpected expenses associated with the loss of a loved one. Unfortunately, bus companies will often fight extremely hard to deny liability for any collision. This is why it is so important that evidence is properly preserved.

Investigating A Belleville Bus Accident

We at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates extend our deepest condolences to the family of Thomas Cobillas. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to police. There needs to be a thorough investigation for the sake of the victim’s family. So many questions need to be answered. Was the bus driver properly licensed? Were they adequately trained? Were they potentially distracted before the deadly crash?

Do you need more information about a Belleville bus accident? Our team of pedestrian 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 negligent drivers are held accountable for their actions. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into an accident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (312) 564-4256.