The widow of an Illinois man who was killed Dec. 5 when a tractor-trailer collided head-on with the school bus he was riding in has filed a wrongful death complaint against the trucking company and its owner.
Kathleen Crabtree filed the lawsuit in McLean (Illinois) County Circuit Court, alleging the tractor-trailer driver Ryan Hute was driving his truck negligently and recklessly the wrong way on I-74 near Bloomington, Indiana, Dec. 5 when he collided head-on with a school bus carrying the Normal West High school girls’ junior varsity basketball team.
The crash killed Ms. Crabtree’s husband, Charles Crabtree, 72, who was a volunteer with the basketball team, and Mr. Hute, 34, who was employed by Jason Farrell Trucking of Clinton, Iowa.
According to The Pantagraph, the bus was returning to Normal, Illinois after a game in Champaign, Illinois when Mr. Hute’s tractor-trailer allegedly entered I-74 from an exit ramp and proceeded to drive on the wrong side of the highway until it collided on-with the school bus.
In addition to killing Mr. Crabtree and Mr. Hute, the crash seriously injured the driver of the school bus and the basketball team’s assistant coach. Eight players were treated for injuries at local hospitals and released.
The lawsuit accuses Mr. Hute of failure to realize he was driving the wrong way on the interstate, failure to slow his tractor-trailer to avoid a collision, and other negligent actions. The results of toxicology tests run on Mr. Hute’s body showed he had no alcohol or drugs in his system.
A lawyer representing Kathleen Crabtree said the crash is “baffling.”
“One of the big questions is how in the world the semi truck driver ended up driving the wrong way on the interstate at night,” he said, according to The Pantagraph.