Washington trucker faces civil, criminal charges in fatal crash

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 7/18/2013

Lawyers representing a Washington state car hauler and a company driver in a civil suit say their client is not at fault for the March 5 collision that killed one firefighter and injured five more.

In a written response to the plaintiff’s complaints in the civil suit, lawyers for Mansur Shakirov and Move It Auto Transport argue that the “plaintiff’s failure to properly barricade the accident scene was the sole cause of the accident.”

“(He) did not set up any warnings, flares, cones or other indicators which would have reasonably warned Shakirov of the plaintiff’s accident investigation, despite the plaintiff having a duty to warn drivers of accident investigation scenes so that they are not faced with sudden emergencies, or otherwise forced to perform dangerous, evasive maneuvers to avoid accident investigation scenes,” the defense reply stated.

An Illinois firefighter who was severely injured in the fatal crash has sued the driver and the trucking company he claims were responsible for injuring him and four other firefighters, as well as killing a fifth firefighter.

The lawsuit, which was filed in May in Illinois federal court, seeks damages of more than $75,000 for Tyler Cobler, who suffered “permanent injuries and pain” as well as income loss as a result of the injuries.

At issue is a fatal collision on Interstate 39, near milepost 6 in McLean County, Ill., that occurred at approximately 10:30 a.m. on March 5. A tractor-trailer hauling cars struck a Hudson Fire Department emergency vehicle that was stopped on the left shoulder of southbound I-39, and several other emergency vehicles. Bloomington firefighter Chris Brown was killed in the crash. Cobler and four others were injured and three emergency vehicles were damaged.

Shakirov, 28, of Spokane, Wash., and his employer, Move It Auto Transport, also of Spokane, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Cobler’s lawyers have stated in their complaint that the emergency lights on all the vehicles were activated at the time of the crash.

According to a detail inspection report of the crash on FMCSA’s website, Move It was cited for six vehicle maintenance violations, one HOS violation for violating the 14-hour rule, and two unsafe driving violations for failure to use caution for hazardous condition and failure to yield the right-of-way.

In addition to the civil charges, Shakirov was also arrested and charged with one felony count of reckless homicide, a Class 2 felony. A status hearing in Shakirov’s criminal case in McLean County Court is slated for Sept. 6. A scheduling conference in the civil suit is scheduled for Aug. 7.

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