The Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of two lawsuits filed in connection with last month’s truck crash that took the lives of three pedestrians—30-year-old Elizabeth Peralta-Luna, and her two children, 4-year-old Dylan Peralta and 9-year-old Elizabeth Peralta—as they were attempting to cross a busy intersection on Chicago’s South Side.
According to reports, at approximately 5p.m. on March 6, 2015, the driver of a semi, 23-year-old Zachary Barngrover, was turning left onto Ashland Ave., from 43rd, when he struck the three victims, who were holding hands as they crossed the street. The trucker, who claims that he did not realize that he had hit anyone, continued to drive for about a block before stopping, causing the mother to be dragged for some distance. Tragically, all three suffered fatal injuries, and were pronounced dead shortly after the impact.
Barngrover was issued two citations—making an improper left turn and failing to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk. Perhaps most disturbing of all is that truck driver is suspected to have been using a cellphone at the time of the crash, as was alleged in the two lawsuits subsequently filed.
The first action was filed March 9th by Peralta-Luna’s aunt, Marciela Ruiz, who is also the victim’s estate administrator, seeking damages on behalf of all three victims for their wrongful death. The second was filed March 26th by Dylan’s Peralta’s father, Ceron Victor Martinez, seeking damages on behalf of his son. Both suits name the truck driver, Zachary Barngrover, as well as his employer, Monson and Sons, Inc., as defendants. Although each were initially filed in Cook County Circuit court, the matters are expected to be removed to federal court.
Many questions remain regarding this incident, which we anticipate will be revealed as the case progresses. For example, was the trucking company negligent in hiring Barngrover—did he have the proper training, experience, and credentials to operate the commercial truck involved in the crash? Barngrover’s employee record, as well as documents pertaining the processes, procedures, and standards used by his employer in screening and hiring employees may assist in proving that the trucking company acted negligently, and perhaps even unlawfully or recklessly.
Further, was Barngrover utilizing a cell phone when the collision occurred? Cellphone records would show any calls or text messages made by Barngrover around the time of the incident, which can then be compared to other evidence, such as police reports and/or eyewitness accounts attesting to the precise (or approximate) time of impact.
Fortunately, the victims’ family members acted quickly in securing representation, which can play a critical role in terms of preserving evidence, because filing suit allows the Plaintiffs’ attorneys to subpoena documents and information that may be needed to prove liability. There is often much more evidence available in accident cases involving commercial trucks that there are with other types of motor vehicle collisions—protecting this evidence can make a profound difference in the outcome of a case. Generally, the sooner you take action, the better.
While we find any accident that results in fatality to be upsetting, when the negligence of another causes the death of an entire family, including two innocent children, we find this type of incident to be particularly heartbreaking. As trucking collision attorneys, we support the victim’s family in their efforts to seek justice on behalf of their loved ones by holding the trucker and his employer responsible for their role(s) in causing this tragic incident.