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.
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.