A driver from Granville, Illinois, had a heart attack and crashed his semi truck south of the town of Henry, Illinois this past Monday. News reports from Peoria, indicate that the man died from the heart attack.
According to the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, 57 year old Gregory L. Tonioni was driving southbound on IL Route 29 around 11:30 am. He was driving a truck owned by the company NCT Trucking out of Granville. Tonioni veered to the right, whereupon he drove into multiple highway signs and a farm fence, ultimately stopping in a recently harvested and cleared cornfield to the side of the highway.
Paramedics called to the scene found Tonioni dead at the site of the crash, and Coroner David Lenz Jr. filed an official report declaring him dead at the scene.
Tonioni’s recent medical history was checked by Lenz, who confirmed that Tonioni had only recently undergone serious surgery, but was already cleared to return to work. The driver also had a history of serious heart problems. This matched with Lenz’s determination of the cause of death, which was that a cardiac incident killed Tonioni.
“He had a heart attack and drove off the road,” Lenz said.
Henry City police, fire, and medical investigators are continuing the investigation into the matter.
The accident, more than anything, illustrates a hidden danger in the high-pressure life of semi truck drivers. These men are forced to drive very long hours. And while there are official legal limits on the number of hours they can drive, there is plenty of evidence of frequent doctoring of logbooks in order to allow even longer hours on the road than are legally permitted.
The evidence in this case indicates a similar kind of pressure. A man with a history of heart complications, who recently underwent surgery, was back on the road in his semi truck soon after the procedure. The culture of pressure and risk taking in the trucking business is clearly a growing danger to other motorists.