When a fatal pedestrian accident occurs, we all seem to pause a moment and consider how fate plays a hand in tragedy. When we discover the victim was a young child walking on the sidewalk with her mother and siblings, we can only think that a wrongful death has occurred. That scenario recently played itself out on an Illinois roadway in Highland Park. A 5-year-old girl was killed as she walked on a sidewalk around 2:30 p.m. on a Monday with her mother and two brothers, ages 2 and 4.
All four were rushed to a local hospital. The young girl died just a few hours later. Her brothers were released from the hospital the following day, while the 25-year-old mother remained under the care of doctors in fair condition.
Witnesses say a black Lexus crossed two lanes of travel before crashing into the family on the sidewalk. The 18-year-old driver is suspected of impairment, and blood samples were taken following the dreadful collision. Though no charges were initially filed against the teen, the samples have been sent to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab for processing, and the district attorney is apparently awaiting the results before deciding on formal criminal charges. There were reportedly no other occupants in the Lexus at the time of the collision.
Witnesses report that the Lexus moved backwards after the initial collision. Authorities say it may have struck one of the victims a second time. One teen said that when he saw the vehicle again rolling toward the family, he placed himself between the vehicle and the injured victims on the ground.
No words can describe the family's pain. Indeed, a family member indicated they were not yet able to speak. As the criminal investigation proceeds, the family has obviously suffered not only a grave loss and injury, but also faces rapidly escalating expenses. While they try and find the strength to come to terms with what occurred, they retain the right to turn to Illinois courts to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit as well as claims for personal injuries. Based on evidence of negligence, the lawsuits would seek financial recovery for the damages sustained in the tragic and fatal collision.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Cops await toxicology results for driver in fatal Highland Park crash," Susan Berger and Jeff Danna, Sept. 4, 2012