Press Release

November 15, 2016

Indiana trucker pleads guilty to
causing 2014 wreck that claimed five lives

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that a truck driver who caused a wreck that killed five people in 2014 pleaded guilty on Tuesday to five counts of reckless homicide and one count of falsifying the record of his driving status.

Francisco Espinal-Quiroz, 53, of Leesburg, Ind., entered a blind plea late Tuesday morning. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Circuit Judge David Carlson on Feb. 15. Espinal-Quiroz faces between six and 28 years in prison.

The defendant was driving a red Freightliner Semi Tractor northbound on Interstate 55 near Channahon at about 2:15 p.m. on July 21, 2014 when he entered a construction zone in which traffic had slowed to between 3-5 mph. Espinal-Quiroz, however, had set his cruise control and was traveling at 65 mph when he entered the construction zone, eventually striking a 2012 Kia Soul occupied by Kimberly Britton, 43, Piper Britton, 11, and Timothy Osburn, 64. Kimberly and Piper were killed on impact, while Mr. Osburn was airlifted to a Chicago hospital where he died 16 days later.

Also killed in the crash were Ulrike Blopleh, 48, who was a passenger in a 2000 Chevrolet Astrovan, and Vicky Palacios, 54, who was in a 2008 Dodge Avenger. Both vehicles were struck by the defendant’s truck.

The investigation revealed that the defendant had started his work day at 2:30 a.m. picking up steel at a warehouse in South Bend, Ind. His log book, however, falsely stated that he started his work day later, at 6:15 a.m. Espinal-Quiroz also is blind in his right eye, but had a waiver to drive a truck through the state of Indiana.

“This was a horrific crash that claimed the lives of five innocent people, including a young girl, and injured several others,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “Our hearts go out to all of the victims and their families who are suffering such a tragic loss.”

News

Illinois State Crime Commission presents State’s Attorney Glasgow with distinguished Career Achievement Award during annual dinner

Mother of Chicago Bulls’ Dwyane Wade to drive home deadly dangers of using heroin during Wilmington forum scheduled for March 2

Video

Cache, a 2-year-old black Labrador working in Will County, is the only high-tech police dog in the Chicago area. (WLS)