Beginning Tuesday, state police got some extra money to crack down on speeders at the construction zone near mile marker 23. Meanwhile, investigators are looking for evidence inside the trucks. A search warrant from the November 21 quadruple fatality indicated that semi driver did not even slow down before impact.
“Drivers need to be accountable,” said Illinois State Trooper Calvin Dye Jr. “The construction zone is not going to force a driver to speed, not going to force a driver to be distracted, not going to force a driver to take his eyes off a roadway.”
State troopers are investigating what distracted 53-year-old truck driver Mohamed Yussuf Jama in his crash, which killed four people.
An emergency responder on the scene that night called the crash “a mass casualty incident.”
Search warrants said there’s video from another semi showing the truck driver did not brake. Investigators also noted “no cellular phone was found” despite the fact the truck driver admitted to owning one.
Now troopers are investigating a second fatal truck crash that occurred December 15.
“(The truck driver) admitted to us he reached down to pick up his tea, taking his eyes off the roadway, striking the first of several vehicles,” Trooper Dye said.
The Illinois Department of Transportation awarded a federal grant Tuesday for ISP to increase patrols here.
“We’re going to be out the rest of this month and into the early part of next year to deter people’s speed, distracted driving,” Trooper Dye said.
Meanwhile, investigators said they’ll continue looking for answers in the two crashes.
“We look at everything. Something the public may think is so simple and may not play a big role in the investigation – it can,” Trooper Dye said. “Everything that was inside of that semi, we have to investigate it to bring justice.”
This can include computer logs which can track hours and speeds.
The search warrant for the November 21 crash makes it clear there are potential criminal charges, including possible “reckless homicide.” The case remains open.
State police would not discuss the direction of the investigation into Friday’s crash. The driver in that crash, 54-year-old Richard Jordan, is from Elkhart, Illinois. The woman, who died from crash related injuries Monday, was identified as 62-year-old Pauline McKinney from Livingston, Illinois.