When you come to a “T-intersection” in Illinois, you must slow to a stop (unless you have a protected green light on which to turn). Then you must look both ways, wait until you have the right-of-way, and then turn either left or right onto the intersecting road. Sounds pretty simple, right?
It is easy – unless you happen to be an impaired, inexperienced driver. Then it’s possible to fail to carry out any of these directions correctly and get into an auto accident.
That seems to be what happened last week in Sangamon County. Shortly after 9pm on Monday, September 16, a car that was being driven by a 16-year old boy was traveling south on Moore Street just northwest of Springfield. When the car reached the intersection of west Jefferson Street, which is just east of the unincorporated rural community of Bradenton in Gardner Township, the boy did not stop at the intersection. Instead, the vehicle reportedly continued through the intersection at a high rate of speed, struck a utility pole on the south side of West Jefferson, and rolled over. A 15-year old boy and a 15-year old girl, who were passengers in the car, were taken to nearby hospitals with injuries. The driver was cited by Illinois State Police for driving under the influence, consumption of alcohol, and possession of alcohol and drug paraphernalia.
It’s pretty clear that the 16-year old driver will be held responsible for the auto accident. Assuming that all of the occupants of the vehicle are unrelated, the parents of the two 15-year olds could choose to file personal injury lawsuits against the parents of the teen driver. (All lawsuits must be filed by and name as defendants adults, since minors are not allowed to be named in lawsuits in Illinois.) These lawsuits could allow the plaintiffs to collect reimbursement for medical expenses and perhaps monetary damages for pain and suffering.