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Road Service Driver & Truck Struck - 07.06.20 (IL)


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Tow truck driver critically hurt in Stevenson Expressway crash




Two people were injured, one of them critically, in a crash Monday on the Stevenson Expressway on the Southwest Side.


A tow truck driver was outside his truck about 2:45 a.m. assisting a semi on the shoulder of eastbound I-55 near Cicero Avenue when another vehicle rear-ended his truck, according to Illinois State Police.


The tow truck driver was then hit by either his truck or the vehicle that hit it, state police said. He and the driver of that vehicle were both taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where the tow truck driver was in critical condition.


The right two inbound lanes of I-55 remain closed in the area as crews continue to investigate, state police said.


Multiple News Sources



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The image is that of a road service truck which could be owned by a towing company which could explain the wording.


Regardless this is a road service tech and our thought's should be with all involved in this tragic incident.

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Are you kidding me, "Who changes tires that are ON the white-line especially at 2:45 AM when that's the Golden DUI Hour?" This is an amazing investigation and one that brings many questions to the table. I had to read and re-read the news narrative, especially about what time of hour this incident occurred? Tire company or not, tire services should follow similar on-highway protocol that mirrors the towing and recovery industry when it comes to white-line safety. Tow fatality history has proved that this time of early AM is deadly to tow operators and persons working shoulder events. For a second, imagine someone who isn't intoxicated, where from a distance, only sees lights on or near the shoulder as they approach at highway speeds? In darkened, ambient lighting, would a totally sober motorist be able to ascertain whether or not something is stopped in the lane ahead especially when there are no brake lights to identify the same? Would that not be confusing? Now, change that sober driver to someone who just left their favorite bar and is marginally or completely hammered; how does the confusion factor change?


I greatly enlarged this photo-up to have a look at where the point of impact might be? While there don't appear to be any pre-impact skid marks, I'd venture to guess that the point of impact was back by the cone's placement judging by the wet spot where the SUV's radiator exploded. A news helicopter video shows there were cones and triangles further back, but doesn't indicate the live lane was closed. Details from other news accounts lead me to believe the tire tech may have parked in a live-lane using the truck to block while they worked in a dangerous white-line position? And, from the looks of the truck tire lying forward and in-front of the tire truck's front bumper, the tech may have been standing in the lane and in-front of the truck that was positioned for blocking. His own truck was pushed forward striking him. My comments are only based on what details reported by the news.


The tire truck, bearing a "Good Year", sticker on the truck's door, had its emergency lighting activated and was parked in the lane, however, some states don't allow non-authorized emergency vehicles to park in traffic lanes. I didn't see any indication that red road-flares were employed. There's much to learn from this incident to suggest that perhaps the semi's driver should have driven forward (if possible) to a wider location versus asking someone to play dodgeball with approaching traffic?

At what point of arrival assessment do tow operators, tire technicians and roadside mechanics just say, "NO ... it's too dangerous", and think of a Plan B, at the very least wait until day-light beyond the Golden DUI Hour? Here's another example of an industry that doesn't have the full-support of law enforcement, especially if when towers and techs don't call for assistance. There's plenty to be learned here. Note: After the crash, from this photo alone, I count seven police vehicles, two attenuator trucks and another tire truck. Where were they when this was all going on?  None-the-less ... I truly pray for the tech's recovery.     R. 

Edited by rreschran

Randall C. Resch

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 For some reason, the picture did not come up when I first read the article and wrote my post. Now that I see the picture.... WTF was he doing out there??... From what I can see it appears he was replacing the left front steer tire so I can understand why he wouldnt be able to limp off the highway if that is in fact the case. But Why on gods green earth would you need your service truck along side the rig?? IN A LIVE LANE !!???!!! Did he feel no one would see his warning lights if he put his truck in front of the semi?? I have done left side steer tires on trucks before on the side of the road and  I would park my truck 5 or 6 car lengths ahead of the semi and have the driver cut the nose over hard a bit to the right to give me a lil breathing room. It also helps to get the warning lights on your service rig a little better display room. Of course cones, triangles and flares were added behind the rig also. I can understand his air line not reaching the front If he was to stage at the rear of the semi because mine didnt reach either. That is why I would set up the way I just mentioned. Seems as though he rolled the dice staging his truck there feeling it would provide him some protection. Certainly a very bad decision. My thoughts are with the tech for a fast recovery. I would love to hear the techs reasoning behind this choice after he recovers. 

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Horrible, appears as though this was preventable. What would anyone be thinking to justify being in the travel lane preforming service. Even on the rare occasions where it would be necessary one would call out for traffic control prior to placing oneself in  such danger.

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That is a Goodyear tire service vehicle. It does not belong to any tow company. The location of that accident is about 50 miles south of me. This boils down to one word, training. In Illinois all towers are required to go through traffic incident management training, but roadside service companies are not. Just another double standard our state has that drives me nuts. This could have been prevented if training was in place. I hope everyone involved recovers fully. I have lived here all my life, and I think our state is becoming more screwed up every day. Our state is suppose to raise the fuel tax again on big trucks. So everyone with IFTA, be prepared to pay more again for Illinois if you come here.

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