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Prosecutors: Trucker In Fatal I-55 Wreck Is Blind In One Eye

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Francisco Espinal-Quiroz (Credit: Will County Sheriff)

Francisco Espinal-Quiroz (Credit: Will County Sheriff)

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CHICAGO (STMW) – An Indiana truck driver has been indicted on reckless homicide charges, in connection to a July crash on Interstate 55 that killed five people. Prosecutors said the crash was partly the result of the trucker being blind in his right eye.

WBBM Newsradio’s Craig Dellimore reports Francisco Espinal-Quiroz, 51, of Leesburg, Ind., has been indicted on 15 counts of reckless homicide.

Will County prosecutors alleged he was speeding in a construction zone on I-55 at Arsenal Road near Channahon last month, when he abruptly changed lanes, causing a chain-reaction crash involving two cars and a van.

Five people, including an 11-year-old girl, died as a result of the crash.

The scene of a fatal crash on Interstate 55 near Channahon. (Credit: Brad Edwards)

The scene of a fatal crash on Interstate 55 near Channahon. (Credit: Brad Edwards)

Will County prosecutors allege Espinal-Quiroz was speeding, failed to keep a proper lookout for slower vehicles, failed to decrease speed, and had physical conditions limiting his ability to drive safely – specifically that he completely lost the vision in his right eye due to a 1984 injury.

Espinal-Quiroz was in custody at the Will County Jail, held on $1 million bail. His arraignment was scheduled for Sept. 9.

Four people died on the day of the crash: Vicky Palacios, 54, of Coal City; Ulrike Blopleh, 48, of Channahon; Piper Britton, 11, of Urbana; and Piper’s mother, Kimberly Britton, 43.

A fifth person injured in the crash, 64-year-old Timothy Osburn, died two weeks later.

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