Thursday, March 25, 2010

3 Chicago Teens Hit by Van in Downstate IL - 1 Killed, 2 Injured

In a horrific incident in downstate Illinois, 3 Chicago-area teenage girls on Spring Break were struck by a van that crossed the center line as they were riding in the opposite direction. One of the girls, Faith Dremmer, was killed. The other two girls were severely injured. All three girls, friends from the University of Chicago Lab School, were wearing helmets. Click here for the online news report from the Chicago Tribune.

The girls reportedly "meticulously" planned the bicycle trip through the area near the Shawnee National Forest and based on reports were experienced riders. The girls planned route was going to take them over 500 miles in one week. A motor vehicle vs. bicycle collision of this nature is inexcusable and unavoidable. It is another tragic reminder of the need for motorist to "share the road" and to see bicycle riders. It is also why as an attorney and a rider I do not believe incidents like this are "accidents" as it was totally avoidable. Incidents like this are simply unfortunate and tragic collisions between a motor vehicle and innocent bicyclists.

As a criminal matter, the driver of the van would at least be charged with violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code for traveling over the center line. However, local authorities may pursue more serious charges given the gravity of the situation. As a civil matter, the driver of the van is liable for the wrongful death of Faith Dremmer and the personal injuries of the other two riders.

An interesting aspect of this case is that the driver of the van that hit the girls was in his 80's. Illinois law requires drivers of his age to take a driver's test every two years. No news has leaked yet as to when his most recent driver's test was.

If you have been injured in a collision, or have any questions regarding this post, please contact Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or