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Police suspect Illinois teen was at fault for fatal crash

Did a teenage driver put on the brake or run a stop sign? The answer to that question will help fatal accident investigators in Central Illinois decide whether a 19-year-old Tremont teen committed a deadly driving error.

The fatal crash occurred on a weekday morning. The victim's car entered Illinois Route 9 from a side road where a stop sign was in place. A potato chip delivery van was headed toward Tremont along the main highway. Traffic on Route 9 was not required to stop.

The car was struck as it entered the intersection. The Tremont teen died at the scene. The 61-year-old van driver sustained minor injuries. The Canton man was treated and released from a hospital in Pekin.

A sheriff's deputy was about a mile from the crash scene at the time of the accident call. The deputy responded but lost control of the sheriff's car while navigating through Tremont High School traffic.

The deputy's cruiser skidded off the road - possibly due to slippery road conditions - and overturned in a ditch. The deputy had apparently tried to avoid hitting a vehicle turning into the parking lot at the school. Tazewell County officials said the deputy was hospitalized with a facial cut, treated with stitches and released.

Police are awaiting the teen's autopsy results and a final report from investigators.

A driver's negligence does not have to be intentional for accident injury victims to receive compensation through liability lawsuits. The teen driver might have been responsible for the accident that killed him and injured another person. The deceased driver's estate could be a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.

Medical and prescription expenses can add up rapidly when an Illinois victim is hospitalized or in recovery. At the same time, victims are prevented from working and earning income. Plaintiffs' financial and non-economic losses can be recovered through an out-of-court settlement or jury award.

Source:, "Tremont man, 19, killed in crash; responding deputy also crashes," Michael Smothers, Feb. 6, 2013

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