The hazards of drag racing are no real secret to motorists in Illinois; in fact, the risks are pretty self-evident to anyone. But it is precisely these dangers which make drag racing so alluring to teenagers and young adults. Throw in the thrill of traveling at a high rate of speed and the competitive nature of racing another car (and perhaps aided by the glorification of this type of racing in movies and video games), and you can easily see why these new drivers are drawn to drag racing.
Unfortunately, these races turn into tragic auto accidents in the blink of an eye all too often. Which is precisely what happened last month in a Chicago suburb.
On the evening of Monday, June 24 shortly after 8:15pm, a 2004 Honda Civic and a 2000 Ford Focus were allegedly drag racing in Lake County on the eastbound side of Illinois Route 120 in Gurnee a couple miles away from the Tri-State Tollway. Right after the vehicles had passed Hunt Club Road, the Honda’s driver lost control and the Civic went airborne, rolled over in the center median, and stopped in the westbound lanes of the roadway. A 20-year old man, an 18-year old man, and a 17-year old boy all suffered serious injuries and had top be rushed to nearby hospitals. But a 16-year old girl from Antioch, who was a rear seat passenger in the car, was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.
Since the 17-year old was driving the Honda, he will be held responsible for the injuries to the two men and the death of the girl, since Illinois law mandates that the driver is always responsible for the safety of his passengers. Should the men choose to do so, they could file personal injury lawsuits against the parents of the 17-year old (because he is a minor, he cannot be named as a defendant in a lawsuit). Likewise, the relatives of the girl may wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit.