Truck driver sues estate of teen killed in WCC crash
By Matt Hanley email@example.com April 19, 2012 11:00AM
The driver of a garbage truck involved in fatal crash on Route 47 near Waubonsee Community College two years ago is suing the estate of the teenage driver of the car. |sun-times media file
Updated: May 21, 2012 8:41AM
The truck driver who was injured in a crash that killed two Waubonsee Community College students has filed suit against the estate of the dead driver.
Attorneys for William Gronka of Plainfield filed suit in Kane County last week, according to court records.
In April 2010, Gronka was injured when the Allied Waste garbage truck he was driving hit a 2002 Chrysler on Route 47.
Driver Ryan Sherrod, 18, and passenger Brandon Utley, 19, both from North Aurora, were killed when Sherrod turned left in front of the truck at the north entrance to Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove campus.
The crash occurred on a long sloping curve near Waubonsee Drive and Route 47. (Waubonsee Drive is Old Oaks Road on the west side of Route 47.) The truck hit the Chrysler on the passenger side, then dragged the car about 50 yards over a lane merger sign, down an embankment and then up a hill on the side of the road. The large blue truck ended up embedded in the passenger side of the Chrysler. Gronka was taken to Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora for treatment.
No tickets were issued in the crash.
At the crash intersection, there are stop signs for the roads that feed onto Route 47. The speed limit on that stretch of Route 47 is 55 mph. Since the crash, Sherrod’s family has advocated for adding a traffic light to the intersection where the teens were killed.
A traffic light had been installed at the campus’ south entrance in November 2006 after that entrance was identified as the site of frequent crashes, but the north entrance had no light. A week after his son’s death, Jim Sherrod appealed to the college’s Board of Trustees to have a traffic light installed at the north entrance.
The state agreed to add signs to the entrance, and in October 2011 Waubonsee officials announced the university received permission to install a traffic light at the north intersection. It is expected to be installed in the next year.
According to the lawsuit, Sherrod was driving at a greater than reasonable speed and failed to slow down when approaching the intersection. Sherrod did not yield while making a left turn and failed to see the garbage truck, the suit alleges.
After the crash, Gronka sustained severe and permanent injuries, the suit says. Gronka has significant medical bills, the suit says. The suit seeks to recover the cost of the medical bills from Sherrod’s estate.