Rivera-Tejada-family.jpg

Provided photo.

The family of three men who were killed in an explosion on the south bank of the Illinois River near Utica back in May are suing the companies responsible for demolishing the old Route 178 Bridge. The Rivera Tejada family is being represented by Chicago law firm Salvi, Schostok, & Pritchard.

The lawsuit names three companies including D. Construction, Gillan Construction, and Orica USA.

The law firm claims that brothers 39-year-old Immer Rivera Tejada, 36-year-old Rafael Rivera Tejada, and their nephew 26-year-old Guillermo Rivera Tejada, of Chicago, had been cooking fish they caught on the river earlier when they found a copper pipe and used it prop up a cooking pan. The law firm says the pipe was actually an explosive charge left behind by the demolition company, which eventually exploded, killing the three men.

The law firm also claims that tests done by local law enforcement found that explosives found in the blast that killed the three men were also used in the explosives for the bridge demolition. The lawsuit alleges that the construction and blasting companies failed to account for all of their explosives which resulted in the death of the three men.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the names of the companies named in the lawsuit.