Carol Ostrow Jul. 30, 2015, 12:14pm


The State of Illinois is suing a motorist and his employer for more than $171,000 in repair costs, claiming the man "substantially" damaged a crash attenuator and existing steel structure following a collision on the Poplar Street Bridge.

The State of Illinois is suing an individual and his Nebraska-based employer on allegations related to a motor vehicle accident that damaged a state-owned bridge.

The State of Illinois, through the state Department of Transportation, filed a lawsuit on July 13 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Willis Vonrentzell and Grand Island Express Inc. (GIE).

According to the filing, on Aug. 6, 2010, Vonrentzell was operating a vehicle belonging to co-defendant GIE along Interstate Highway 55 near mile post 1 and the defendant was in breach of duty to drive safely and control his vehicle.

The suit says Vonrentzell, who failed to stay in the proper driving lane, struck and damaged a crash attenuator belonging to the state, crossed two lanes of traffic, struck the concrete median, rolled over onto the passenger side and caught fire.

The accident "substantially" damaged the crash attenuator and the surface of the existing steel structure, the Poplar Street Bridge, which is owned by the Department of Transportation, the lawsuit states.

The state seeks bridge repair of $171,484.82, plus court costs. The state is represented by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and assistant attorneys general Josue Barba and Christine McClimans.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-394.

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