Lawsuit filed after Illinois trooper's death - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Lawsuit filed after Illinois trooper's death

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(WGEM) - A Belleville attorney has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dot Foods and one of its drivers in connection with the November death of an Illinois State Trooper. 

Attorney Thomas Keefe filed the lawsuit on behalf Sarah Deatherage, the wife of Trooper Kyle Deatherage, who was killed Nov. 26 during a routine traffic stop.

Authorities say Deatherage, 32, was conducting the traffic stop on Interstate 55 near Litchfield when he was allegedly struck by a DOT Foods truck. Deatherage died at the scene. 

(See "Illinois trooper hit, killed by passing semi rig")

Keefe says he believes the driver of the Dot Foods truck, Johnny Felton Jr., lost consciousness because of diabetes when he allegedly ran off the road and struck Deatherage.

"I handle lots of serious cases involving severe injury or death, but this case made me angry," Keefe told WGEM News.

(See "Dot Foods trucker being investigated in trooper's death")

Keefe believes the driver should not have been on the road because of his medical condition.

"The driver's conduct was horrendous," Keefe said. "This case cries out for justice."

Dot Foods issued the following statement on Thursday:

The Dot Transportation, Inc. (DTI) investigation of the accident on I-55 which took the life of Illinois State Trooper Kyle Deatherage is still underway.  There has been speculation that the DTI driver's medical condition may have played a role in causing this accident.  However, DTI's internal investigation has revealed that the DTI driver involved in this accident was operating under a valid medical card issued by a U.S. Department of Transportation certified physician.  It is DTI's policy that no driver will drive for DTI unless he or she has a valid medical card and is in full compliance with the Federal Motor Safety Act.
DTI's investigation has also revealed that DTI was not informed of and unaware of any reason which would indicate this driver was unable to safely operate DTI's truck or disqualify him as an interstate truck driver under the Department of Transportation regulations.  DTI will not release details of the driver's medical condition out of respect for the employee's privacy.
The driver in question is a 25 year veteran of the armed forces who rose to the rank of sergeant and commanded 80 troops.  He was hired by DTI after an honorable discharge and had a clean driving record at the time of hire.
The Dot Foods and DTI family continue to express their deepest sympathies to the family of the Illinois patrolman.
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