Injured Illinois firefighter sues trucking company, driver

A Hudson Illinois firefighter is suing a trucking company and a driver over injuries he suffered in March in an Interstate 39 accident that also killed a fellow firefighter.

Firefighter Tyler Cobler’s federal lawsuit names Move It Auto Transport and Mansur Shakirov, both of Washington State, as defendants. Shakirov, who has been charged with reckless homicide, reportedly lost control of his semi-trailer truck, which was hauling cars, and crashed into emergency workers who were finishing up work at an accident scene about 10:30 p.m. on a snowy night on March 5. The lawsuit alleges Shakirov was reckless and/or negligent.

The plaintiff alleges the company committed 17 violations, including failing to maintain proper records and documents, failing to properly train Shakirov, allowing the driver to operate without adequate safety management controls and failing to investigate the competence of the driver.

Three Hudson Fire Department vehicles were damaged in the accident that injured five firefighters and killed Chris Brown, who also was a full-time firefighter with the Bloomington Fire Department.

The attorney representing Cobler, Kenneth J. Allen with the Allen Law Group, based in Valparaiso, IN, declined to identify the amount of damages being sought in the lawsuit, which was filed May 19 in Peoria's federal court, but court documents indicate the minimum award would be $75,000. Permanent injuries, pain, suffering and lost past and future earnings are among the allegations, according to the Pentagraph.

“We had a case nearly identical in Indiana recently and the award in that case was $18 million,” Allen said.

“There are some really great safety laws already on the books,” Allen said. “They are not being routinely enforced. The bottom line in this case is that when there is adverse weather, you have to look and be careful.”

“One of the main goals of this lawsuit is to hold these people fully accountable,” Allen added. “Our most important goal is to prevent this from happening again.”

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