Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hit-and-Run Driver of Semi-Truck Involved in Fatal Illinois Bike Crash Located

Illinois Trial Attorneys at Keating Law Offices
According to news reports, the Illinois State Police have located the driver of a semi-truck that was involved in a fatal crash near St. Elmo, Illinois on Monday morning. 30-year old Jason Hearty of Altamont, Illinois was killed in the crash. It was reported that Mr. Hearty regularly used this route to ride his bike to work. 
Additional Charges May Be Filed In Fatal Hit-and-Run
The driver was located around noon Monday morning after the crash. He was identified as 31-year old Kevin A. Bagwill of Godfrey, Illinois. Police also identified the semi-truck itself as the one involved in the crash. Bagwill was issued traffic citatinos for leaving the scene of a fatal crash and for failure to report the crash to police. Further charges may be forthcoming after a review by the Fayette County State's Attorney's Office. 
Illinois Law Requires Drivers Involved In Bike Crashes to Stay at Scene
Hearty was was riding his bicycle westbound on Route 40 near St. Elmo, Illinois when the fatal crash took place. There are no reports as to the direction of travel of the semi-truck at the time of the crash. However, witnesses reported the driver of the semi-truck fleeing the scene. Driver in Illinois who are involved in a crash are legally required to:
1) Stay at the scene of the crash long enough to provide the injured party with their information; and

2) If necessary or if requested to arrange for medical care for the injured bicyclist. 

Section 11-401(a) of the Illinois Vehicle Code provides the groundwork for the motorist: 
"The driver of any vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in personal injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident, or as close thereto as possible and shall then forthwith return to, and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until the requirements of Section 11-403 have been fulfilled."
Section 11-403 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code more specifically lays out the requirements any such motorist must fulfill before leaving the scene of a collision that leads to personal injuries: 
"The driver of any vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or damage to any vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall give the driver’s name, address, registration number and owner of the vehicle the driver is operating and shall upon request and if available exhibit such driver’s license to the person struck or the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle collided with an shall render to any person injured in such accident reasonable assistance, including the carrying or the making of arrangements for the carrying of such person to the physician, surgeon or hospital for medical or surgical treatment, if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or if such carrying is requested by the injured person."
Rather interestingly, in 2011 the law regarding hit-and-runs in Illinois was amended to allow the motorist to avoid prosecution for the hit-and-run by notifying the authorities within a half hour of the accident or within a half hour of being discharged from the hospital for an injury or incapacitation suffered in the accident. Section 11-401(b) provides as follows: 
"Any person who has failed to stop or to comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) shall, as soon as possible but in no case later than one-half hour after such motor vehicle accident, or, if hospitalized and incapacitated from reporting at any time during such period, as soon as possible but in no case later than one-half hour after being discharged from the hospital, report the place of the accident, the date, the approximate time, the driver's name and address, the registration number of the vehicle driven, and the names of all other occupants of such vehicle, at a police station or sheriff's office near the place where such accident occurred. No report made as required under this paragraph shall be used, directly or indirectly, as a basis for the prosecution of any violation of (staying at scene requirements)."
There is no reasonable excuse for a hit-and-run. Illinois law provides reasonable requirements for drivers who have been involved in a crash to stay involved. Even in instances where the driver is injured, there is still a window of time to legally report the crash. 

Attorney Michael S. Keating is a national leader in the area of bicycle accident litigation. He represents clients throughout Illinois in personal injury and wrongful death crashes. Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle accidents in Illinois. The firm is based in Chicago, Illinois and represents clients throughout Illinois. If you have any questions regarding this post or have a question regarding personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-239-6787 (Office) or 312-208-7702 (Nights/Weekends). Our staff and operators are available around the clock. You can also email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.