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Skokie officials: Cook County driver not to blame for fatality

Compensation is not the only comfort Chicago civil courts provide for car accident victims and their families. Juries define the party or parties accountable for an injury or wrongful death, based on proof of negligence.

A fiery accident involving a trash truck recently killed three people in Glenview. The victims, occupants of the same car, were burned so badly that Cook County officials could not identify who they were. The medical examiner's office said the victims suffered heat and fire injuries; several blunt force trauma injuries also contributed to the death of one of them.

Skokie officials were quick to defend the driver of the village-owned trash truck, a 19-year employee who escaped harm. Officials posted a statement online that accused the unknown car driver of running a stop sign and pulling into the truck's path.

Police said it was too soon to draw conclusions about the cause of the fatal accident. A dental records' check to identify the victims could take as long as two months. Authorities did state the truck struck and drove over the car.

The collision touched off a destructive fire that entirely engulfed the car and the front end of the garbage truck. A fire official, who arrived minutes following the first crews at the midday crash scene, said the blaze's intensity prevented responders from rescuing anyone.

The name of the Skokie trash hauler was not made public. Village officials said he would return to work after undergoing trauma counseling.

Reckless behavior can be traced to a driver, but fault also can reach beyond people directly involved to commercial vehicle leasing firms or employers. Substandard mechanical inspections and maintenance affect vehicle operation. Fatiguing driver schedules and poor training and hiring patterns influence employee performance.

Injury and wrongful death damages are awarded for careless behavior, whether that occurs behind the wheel or by a vehicle owner, servicer or manufacturer.

Source:, "Skokie-owned truck involved in fatal Glenview wreck" Alexandra Chachkevitch, Oct. 16, 2013

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