Iowa Trucking Company to Pay $19.3 Million for Crash that Killed Two Young Men

West Side Transport Inc. will pay over $19 million to settle wrongful death claims brought by the families of two men who died when the company’s semi-truck crashed into their vehicle.

Semi-truck driving on highway

ByCarolyn Casey, J.D.


Published on January 26, 2024

Semi-truck driving on highway

What Happened

In August 2022, West Side Trucking employee Anthony Hobbs left the company’s Glenwood, Illinois location in his assigned semi-truck. He headed west on Interstate 80. Around mile marker 109, Hobbs drove his semi-truck into the rear of Bessai and Velasquez’s vehicle. The collision caused the young men’s vehicle to spin into oncoming traffic where another semi-truck hit them.

They never stood a chance after being hit by two massive semi-trucks. The National Safety Commission reports that 5,700 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2021. This is a 49% increase over the prior ten years.

The Young Men Who Were Killed

The COVID-19 pandemic had drastically disrupted the economies of both Columbia and Algeria, prompting the youths to move to the U.S. in search of better lives. Twenty-six-year-old Brayan Jimenez Velasquez lived in Indiana. He sent money home to his family in Colombia. The other crash victim, Sofiane Bassia, was 33 when his life was cut short. Originally from Algeria, Mr. Bessai also provided financial support to his family back home. Bessai lived in Illinois, where the accident occurred.

One of the victim’s lawyers commented that he was proud that the settlement award they negotiated would help take care of Sofiane’s and Brayan’s devastated families. This would carry out what the deceased, family-oriented men had set out to do.

The Settlement

A plaintiff lawyer commented that West Side Trucking basically admitted fault when they responded to the families’ lawsuit. The parties agreed to mediate the case. However, as discovery moved along the case seemed headed to a trial. Until the company agreed to settle.

The Settlement Award

Mr. Bessai's mother and his four siblings will each receive about $1,273,635 in the settlement. Mr. Velasquez's mother and one of his brothers will receive about $2,668,62. Another brother of Brayan will get $1,334,310.

A probate court in Lake County, Indiana was scheduled to review and approve the final distribution of the Velasquez family's settlement in mid-August. Probate approval for Mr. Bessai was already completed in his residence in Kane County, Illinois.

Counsel will receive over $6 million for fees and costs.

Abdul Basraoui et al. v. West Side Transport Inc. et al., case number 2022-L-011296, was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

About the author

Carolyn Casey, J.D.

Carolyn Casey, J.D.

Carolyn Casey is a seasoned professional with extensive experience in legal tech, e-discovery, and legal content creation. As Principal of WritMarketing, she combines her decade of Big Law experience with two decades in software leadership to provide strategic consulting in product strategy, content, and messaging for legal tech clients. Previously, Carolyn served as Legal Content Writer for Expert Institute, Sr. Director of Industry Relations at AccessData, and Director of Product Marketing at Zapproved, focusing on industry trends in forensic investigations, compliance, privacy, and e-discovery. Her career also includes roles at Iron Mountain as Head of Legal Product Management and Sr. Product Marketing Manager, where she led product and marketing strategies for legal services, and at Fios Inc as Sr. Marketing Manager, specializing in eDiscovery solutions.

Her early legal expertise was honed at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, where she developed legal strategies for mergers, acquisitions, and international finance matters. Carolyn's education includes a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, where she was a Senior Editor for the International Law Journal and participated in a pioneering China Summer Law Program. She also holds an AB in Political Science with a minor in art history from Stanford University. Her diverse skill set encompasses research, creative writing, copy editing, and a deep understanding of legal product marketing and international legal trends.

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