A Chicago family mourning three men killed in a May 6 explosion near Starved Rock State Park aren’t convinced by statements the explosive material wasn’t left behind by a demolition team.
And the law firm the Rivera Tejada family said they plan to file a lawsuit “imminently” in La Salle County Circuit Court to get the bottom of what happened.
Tara Devine, one of the attorneys for the Rivera Tejada family, said Thursday a lawsuit soon will be filed so they can get answers about blasting scheduled that day and whether it was stray materials that killed brothers Inmer Rivera Tejada, 39, Rafael Rivera Tejada, 36, and their nephew, 26-year-old Guillermo Rivera Tejada.
And when asked if Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. are in fact-finding mode or have a working theory as to how the men were killed, Devine said “both.”
“I would say we’re still in fact-finding mode, but we’re working off a theory that, more likely not, there were planned and scheduled and detonations at the bridge that day,” she said, adding later, “Is there something that was carelessly or negligently left behind?”
La Salle County authorities previously issued a statement saying the material ignited did not come from the demolition of the nearby Utica bridge. However, Devine said some of the facts so far in hand have called that statement into question.
The Rivera Tejada men were fishermen who frequently made one-day trips from Chicago to Starved Rock — all were expected to return home the night of May 6 — and had never brought with them or used any explosive materials.
Devine also said there were reasons to be skeptical of the authorities’ abrupt claim that the deaths were unconnected to the bridge demolition.
“I think that’s a very difficult conclusion for anyone to make,” she said, “much less within 24 hours of when these gentlemen were killed.”
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard had previously issued an appeal for the family’s privacy and said a statement and further information would be issued when “appropriate.”