Injured Illinois Firefighter Suing Trucking Company

May 22, 2013
Fellow firefighter Chris Brown was struck and killed on the interstate.

May 22--PEORIA -- A Hudson firefighter is suing a trucking company and a driver over injuries he suffered in March in an Interstate 39 accident that also killed a fellow firefighter.

Tyler Cobler's federal lawsuit names Move It Auto Transport and Mansur Shakirov, both of Washington State, as defendants. The March 5 accident damaged three Hudson Fire Department vehicles, injured five firefighters and killed Hudson firefighter Chris Brown, who also was a full-time firefighter with the Bloomington Fire Department.

"One of the main goals of this lawsuit is to hold these people fully accountable," said Kenneth J. Allen with the Allen Law Group, based in Valparaiso, Ind. "Our most important goal is to prevent this from happening again."

Allen declined to identify the amount of damages being sought in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in Peoria's federal court, but court documents indicate the minimum award would be $75,000. Permanent injuries, pain, suffering and lost past and future earnings are among the allegations.

"We had a case nearly identical in Indiana recently and the award in that case was $18 million," Allen said.

Shakirov, who has been charged with reckless homicide, reportedly lost control of his semitrailer truck, which was hauling cars, and crashed into emergency workers who were finishing up work at an accident scene about 10:30 p.m. on a snowy night near Hudson. The lawsuit alleges he was reckless and/or negligent.

"There are some really great safety laws already on the books," Allen said. "They are not being routinely enforced. The bottom line in this case is that when there is adverse weather, you have to look and be careful."

The plaintiff alleges the company committed 17 violations, including failing to maintain proper records and documents, failing to properly train Shakirov, allowing the driver to operate without adequate safety management controls and failing to investigate the competence of the driver.

Copyright 2013 - The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.

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