Weston Hemmerling Injured In Teutopolis Chemical Spill Accident

University of Missouri-Columbia Freshman Weston Hemmerling Injured After Effingham County Truck Accident Causes Hazardous Material Spill

Weston Hemmerling Injured In Teutopolis Chemical Spill Accident

TEUTOPOLIS, ILLINOIS (October 7, 2023) – Weston Hemmerling was identified as one of four University of Missouri-Columbia students injured in the chemical spill on U.S. Highway 40.

Effingham County officials are saying that the accident took place about 9:25 p.m. on Friday. A car was attempting to pass a tanker truck when a multi-vehicle collision occurred.

The force of the impact caused the truck to overturn, causing it to spill thousands of gallons of toxic anhydrous ammonia. Environmental specialists were called to the scene and helped evacuate an estimated 500 people within a one mile radius of the leak.

Five people tragically died in the crash. Numerous other people were injured. Weston Hemmerling was one of four college students that were not directly involved in the crash, but still close enough to be harmed by the ammonia.

The Mizzou Club Swim members attempted to evacuate the area and became trapped in ditches by the side of the road. They were taken to the hospital in order to receive treatment.

You can help support the college students through GoFundMe. According to the fundraiser, “The funds raised through this GoFundMe will be split 4 ways between the families to use in ways they see best fit for the situation they are in, whether it be for current needs like hotel expenses and food, or to cover the large hospital bills they will ultimately be left with.”

Liability For Effingham County Hazardous Material Truck Accidents

Chemical spills represent a serious threat both to the individuals directly involved and those that live in the surrounding communities. According to The Guardian, “In the first seven weeks of 2023 alone, there were more than 30 incidents recorded by the Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters, roughly one every day and a half. Last year the coalition recorded 188, up from 177 in 2021. The group has tallied more than 470 incidents since it started counting in April 2020.” This equates to roughly two chemical accidents per day. There are a number of steps that transportation companies should take in order to prevent chemical spills.

  • The trucks used to transport hazardous materials should be regularly inspected and well-maintained.
  • Truck drivers that operate hazardous material vehicles should be well trained.
  • Truck companies should ensure that all of their cargo is properly secured.
  • Truck companies should stay up to date with all relevant transportation and environmental regulations.

Truck drivers have a legal obligation to exercise due care in order to avoid accidents. Many collisions involve truck drivers that make dangerous turns in the roadway. Pursuant to Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-902), any driver intending to turn left must first yield the right-of-way to any driver traveling from the opposite direction that is close enough so as to pose a hazard. If a semi-truck driver makes a dangerous left-turn in front of another vehicle, this could form the basis of a negligence claim. Victims of chemical spill accidents tend to suffer very serious injuries including:

  • Permanent damage to the lungs
  • Chemical burns to the eyes
  • Neurological damage
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

It can be hard to know where to begin after any truck accident. Many victims will need to take significant periods of time off of school or work. They may also be left with high medical bills. It is important for accident victims to understand that they do have rights. Any person that is injured in a chemical spill may have legal recourse through a bodily injury claim. A personal injury attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.

Investigating Effingham County Hazardous Material Truck Accidents

We at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates extend our best wishes to Weston Hemmerling and the other members of Mizzou Club Swim as they continue to recover. There are so many questions that still need to be answered. It is our sincere hope that safety measures are put in place to prevent other accidents like this.

Have you or someone that you care about been injured in a Illinois chemical spill? Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that accident victims get the medical and financial support that they need in order to recover. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support after an accident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (312) 564-4256.