In Illinois, it’s common for motor vehicles to leave the roadway without their drivers intending to. If a vehicle happens to stray onto a shoulder, curb, or ditch, the driver can often make a quick-yet-subtle correction and guide the vehicle back onto the roadway without getting into an auto accident. In other instances, slowing the vehicle to a stop once it leaves the road is a much better alternative. But some drivers try to make a sudden and/or sharp maneuver – which often leads to “overcorrecting” and a serious collision.
That appears to be what happened in DeWitt County over the weekend. Around 8am Saturday morning, a car was traveling south on U.S. 51 about a quarter of a mile past Clinton, which is some 23 miles south of Bloomington. For some as-yet unknown reason, the car drove off the right side of the road and into an adjacent field. But instead of stopping or carefully guiding the car back onto the pavement, the 70-year driver from Heyworth veered back across the southbound lanes and into the center median before striking an oncoming pickup head-on on the northbound side of the highway. The man driving the car died shortly thereafter at a Clinton hospital, while the 57-year old woman driving the pickup had to be transported to an Urbana hospital where she underwent surgery.
Even though the elderly man perished in the auto accident, he can still be held liable for the crash and the injuries to the driver of the pickup truck. Should she choose to do so, the woman could file a personal injury lawsuit against the estate of the Heyworth man. This may allow her to receive reimbursement for the costs associated with ambulance transportation, surgery, hospitalization, and recovery. She may also be entitled to monetary damages for pain and suffering as well as compensation for unearned wages due to work absenteeism.