Bond set at $1 million for trucker charged in fatal I-55 crash

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Bond was set at $1 million for the truck driver charged in Monday’s I-55 crash that killed four people.

51-year-old Francisco Espinal-Quiroz, of Leesburg, Ind, is charged with false recording of commercial driver records and a Class 4 felony of failure to maintain record of duty status.

The prosecutor said they could also up the charges as the investigation continues to reckless homicide.

Espinal-Quiroz indicated to police officers that while his log book said he started at 6:15 a.m. or 6:30 a.m., he really started at 2:30 a.m. - which would have put him on the road about 12 hours.

Witnesses say he was going 15 over posted construction speed limit which was 45 mph when the crash happened around 2:30 Monday afternoon. Witnesses tell police the truck showed no signs of breaking.

Espinal-Quiroz has no prior felonies or misdemeanors but has a total of 12 prior driving infractions between 1991 and 2013. These included speeding, driving without proper commercial license.

Espinal-Quiroz was working for himself as a private contractor.

The Will County coroner’s office said the four killed were Ulrike P. Blopeh, 48, of Channahon; Vicky L. Palacios, 54, of Coal City; Kimberly K. Britton, 43, of Urbana; and Piper Britton, 11, also of Urbana.

Those killed in the accident ranged in age from 54 to 11-years-old.  The Blopleh family was on their way home to Channahon in their minivan after a day of picking  blueberries.

“Ullie what you need to know is she was a mother and a mother and that was her number one role in life,” said family friend Steve Flynn. “Her husband told me yesterday she was the home.”

Along with being a mother, Ulli Blopleh was also a dedicated church volunteer.  Her 16-year-old daughter was at the wheel, two of her three sons were also with her. 10-year-old Andre is still in the hospital recovering.

A family spokesperson says the family is leaning on friends and  faith to help them through this difficult time.

The spokesperson also says they have no ill will toward the driver prosecutors say caused the accident.


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  • Jack Steen

    Where did Eric Runce go to skool ?
    The driver talked to ICE agents – NOT “LICE” agents.
    The truck was not seen in the act of BRAKING. You step on the BRAKES – NOT “breaks.”

    • Bill

      It’s police officers. No where does it say anything about agents, the editor simply forgot to put the “po” in police. If you are going to play grammar police, please make sure it is correct.


      • Jack Steen

        “FORGOT to put the ‘PO’ ” ??

        Working for WGN, I guess English-As-Second-Language writers can do that and it’s OK ! ?

  • Rosie

    Wow really!!! This is a sad very tragic incident and the only comments you have is on the improper grammar and spelling??!!!??

  • PeterT

    @ Rosie What do you have against proper grammar and spelling, especially when it is expected of alleged journalists? Commenting about it might at least make an impression on the people who get paid to write. Nothing is going to change the tragic incident.

  • PeterT

    @ Bill It is the job of the editors to correct mistakes made by the reporters. The editors do not write the articles. I make mistakes all of the time when I write, and I wish that I had an editor to clean them up. I do not get paid to write though.

  • Jeremy

    Ethan Couch killed four people because he was drunk and he gets probation and a charge of affluenza charge because he is rich. I believe This guy is wrong but the vast seperatism in charges is why the judicial system has no crediblity.

  • rebecca

    you kill someone because of your mistake- YOU and only YOU are responsible for your actions- life in prison and he lives what he has done for the rest of his life, he destroyed so many peoples lives that day- including his own- “12 prior driving infractions between 1991 and 2013. These included speeding, driving without proper commercial license.” obviously he THOUGHT he didn’t have to obey the law… now he pays the price..

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