Thursday, June 5, 2014

Charges Filed in Fatal Hit-and-Run of Bicyclist in Forest Park

According to media reports, 21-year old Joel Mendoza of Berwyn has been charged with the fatal hit-and-run of bicyclist, Jeffery Schultz. Jeffery was riding his bicycle on Harlem Avenue near its intersection with 14th Street late on Saturday night when he was struck by a speeding car. The driver of the car, believed to be Joel Mendoza, then fled the scene and the car was later found abandoned. 

Joel Mendoza has been charged by the state with the criminal violations of 1) leaving the scene of a fatal accident; and 2) failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision. The state may later amend the charges to include of charges against Mendoza as evidence develops. Mendoza was due for a bond hearing at the Maywood Courthouse today. At this hearing the judge will have decided either to hold Mendoza without bond or set a bond amount which, if posted, would allow Mendoza to be free on bond while the criminal case proceeds against him. 

The family of Jeffery Schultz also has the legal right to proceed with a civil action against Joel Mendoza. A civil lawsuit could include claims under the Illinois Survival Act and the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. The Survival Act allows the family of deceased person to recover for the losses such as pain and suffering that the loved one experienced prior to their death. The Wrongful Death Act allows for the family to make a claim for the loss of that person in their lives and the void that exists with them gone. 

Regardless of what the law provides, the reality is that an innocent man died while doing the simple act of riding his bicycle because it appears a driver was behaving recklessly. This is truly a tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Jeffery Schultz.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.