The Illinois State Police are currently investigating the cause of a fatal road construction accident on the I-294 tollway that recently took the life of a worker, as Illinois Tollway officials urge motorists to exercise caution in work zones.
Car Crossed Into Closed Construction Area
The fatal road construction accident in question took place in an area where two lanes were closed on I-294 near milepost 41 in Rosemont, IL. On September 14, 2018, at approximately 10:15 p.m., 61-year-old Frank Caputo, of the 1800 block of Golfview Drive in Bartlett, was working in the closed construction area when a 2014 Infiniti crossed into the construction area and struck him. The driver of the vehicle then went on to hit a parked, unoccupied white construction van.
Caputo and the unidentified driver of the Infiniti were both taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, where Caputo was pronounced dead just before 11:00 p.m. The driver of the vehicle was treated for minor injuries and is not currently in custody, according to police.
Illinois State Police Captain Robert Meeder said at a news conference that police believe that speed played a part in the crash and that the agency was securing subpoenas and search warrants to gather evidence to present to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. The evidence would reportedly include a toxicology report to determine whether the motorist was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Road Construction Accidents Frequent in Illinois
While tragic, the road construction accident that took Caputo’s life is far from an isolated incident. According to the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, there are 4,800 work zone crashes in Illinois every year. In 2017, 29 people died in Illinois road construction accidents, included David Schwartz, a Tollway maintenance worker who was killed on September 18, 2017.
Road construction work often takes place at night in order to interfere less with traffic. Tollway spokesperson Dan Rozek said the process of determining where, when, and how road construction takes place varies project by project and that the Tollway has a guide to determine how many travel lanes to close to minimize traffic disruption. He also said that the Tollway puts electronic message and construction signs in place to alert drivers in advance of scheduled lane closures, traffic patterns, and reduced speed limits.
According to Meeder, the Illinois State Police recently began stepping up enforcement in construction zone areas on I-294 and I-88, with a focus on speeding, improper lane usage, and distracted driving. He said the law enforcement agency would also be doing extra enforcement on I-355 for the rest of the construction season.
“Those on our construction sites are out there every day working to deliver safer roads for our commuters, and our commuters owe it to them to slow down and avoid distracted and impaired driving,” said Illinois State Toll Highway Authority Chairman Robert Schillerstrom about the incident. “Drivers have to take responsibility and do their part to put an end to these deadly and needless crashes.”
Schillerstrom also noted that motorists can report other drivers who go around work zone barriers by calling *999.
Illinois Road Construction Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured in a road construction accident and wish to seek financial damages, you might benefit from the assistance of an experienced lawyer, such as the Illinois road construction accident lawyers at GWC Injury Lawyers.
GWC is Illinois’ largest Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firm, with over $2 billion recovered for our clients and offices throughout the state.
Please contact us today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers. Call us at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives at any time.