A tragic scene unfolded the morning of Oct. 11, when a van carrying developmentally disabled residents of an adult rehabilitation center was struck head-on, leaving three people dead. Fulton County, Illinois, police determined that a 25-year-old man driving west on Illinois Route 9 in a 1994 Chevrolet Blazer crossed the center line and struck the 1998 Ford passenger van. The driver of the Blazer was pronounced dead at the scene, along with two women, ages 49 and 51, who were riding in the van.
Another 11 people were transported to the hospital for various injuries, some of them serious, police and rescue workers said. Although the cause of the car accident is still under investigation, the driver of the Blazer was reportedly driving erratically before the accident. The van was taking transporting the residents of the Emerald Estates facility to work at the Tazewell County Resource Center. Rescue workers arrived at the scene to find both vehicles on fire, and had to move quickly to protect the survivors.
Residents, employees and volunteers at Emerald Estates are now left to pick up the pieces and try to make sense of a tragic situation. People familiar with the facility and the residents described the women who died as friendly and sweet people who would not hurt anyone.
No one who entrusts their care or the care of a loved one to another, such as the facility in this story, should have to fear that someone's negligent actions will seriously injure or kill them. This is a tragedy that should have never happened. Once more about the accident is known, there could be several personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed. If the driver of the Blazer is found to have acted negligently in causing the accident, his estate could be liable for damages.
Source: Journal-Star, "Canton facility staff members, clients mourn crash victims," Terry Bibo, Oct. 12, 2011