Friday, April 3, 2020

Deer Park, Illinois Driver Identified and Charged in Fatal Hit-and-Run Bike Collision in Barrington, Illinois

Nearly two years after a driver struck and killed an Illinois bicyclist, the driver who originally fled the scene is facing the criminal justice system. According to news reports, the Barrington Hills police department along with the Major Crash Assistance Team of Lake County located and identified the driver of a hit-and-run fatal bicycle collision that took place in Barrington Hills, Illinois on May 11, 2018. 

28-year old Rafal Ryndak of Schiller Park died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The driver has been identified as Tommy Walker III. With assistance of the Cook County’s states attorney’s office, Tommy Walker III was charged on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 with leaving the scene of an accident involving death. At this time there is no information as to whether additional charges related to the fatal crash are pending.

Illinois Law Requires Drivers Involved In Bike Crashes to Stay at Scene

Illinois law provides that a motorist has a responsibility under the law to stay on the scene of a crash. Back on May 11, 2018 around 10:00 p.m. bicyclist Rafal Ryndak, 28 of Schiller Park was riding his bicycle home. Rafal was riding on Route 59 just south of Route 68 in Barrington Hills, Illinois when the fatal crash took place. There are no reports as to the direction of travel of the motor vehicle at the time of the crash. However, witnesses reported the driver fleeing the scene. When Barrington Hills police arrived on scene, Rafal was tragically found to be unresponsive and was pronounced dead at the scene. 

In addition to however the crash took place, drivers in Illinois who are involved in a crash are also 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 crash. 

Section 11-401(b) of the Illinois Vehicle Code 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.

Another Fatal Crash Involving an Illinois Bicyclist

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Rafal Ryndak. In addition to the massive loss involving in his wrongful death, there is also the tremendous insult of the driver not following the law and taking responsibility for his involvement in the crash. Not only did the driver not stay on the scene, but left behind a bicyclist who was fatally injured. Illinois law, let alone common decency, provides that we help those who have been injured. Rest in peace, Rafal.