Suburban man calls for changes to Tri-state Tollway after series of bad accidents

FOX 32 NEWS - A series of bad accidents on the Tri-state Tollway has one crash victim calling for major changes.

Bill Bertram was heading home to Round Lake Beach last September when he approached the west bound Grand Avenue exit from northbound I-94. As often happens during rush hour, the exit ramp was backed up nearly a half mile and Bertram was sitting in the right hand lane with traffic flying by when it happened.

"And all of a sudden, kaboom! I got hit from behind for no apparent reason,” Bertram said.

Bertram's car was thrown more than 100 yards down the expressway, coming to a stop in the middle of traffic. He and a passenger were trapped inside.

"I'm terrified I'm gonna get struck by a semi going 70 miles an hour driving through,” Bertram said.

The car was totaled, and Bertram suffered significant injuries. Now, he wants something done to prevent more accidents at that interchange.

"There's gotta be, somebody look up the records, two to three a week I would assume. If not, fender benders,” Bertram said.

That includes a terrifying crash last September when a semi smashed into a long line of cars waiting to exit, injuring eight people.

The driver of the first car struck suffered critical injuries, but somehow survived.

Complicating matters they say is the fact that you have popular attractions like Six Flags to the east and Gurnee Mills to the west, meaning a lot of the people driving this stretch of I-94 are unfamiliar with the traffic patterns.

A spokesman for the Illinois Tollway Authority says they are aware of problems, and have already taken steps such as warning signs that flash when exiting traffic is backed up onto the interstate.

The spokesman says: "As a future improvement, the Tollway is evaluating whether the eastbound and westbound exiting traffic can both be separated by a barrier wall from the I-94 mainline traffic."

Bertram’s attorney says something has to be done.

"I really think the engineers need to get out there. They need to redesign this, perhaps make more lanes. Something to stop this backup,” attorney Jennifer Ashely said.

The driver who struck Bertram’s car was ticketed for failure to reduce speed and has already pleaded guilty.