Leaving the scene of an auto accident is a serious crime in the state of Illinois. That said, it isn’t hard to empathize with drivers who hit a vehicle (or bicycle or pedestrian), panic for a moment, embrace their “flight” instinct, and speed away. However, there is absolutely no excuse for a driver causing an accident, waiting at the scene for several minutes, and then trying to get away. Karma tends to view such individuals with disdain – as an incident this weekend in Chicago demonstrates.
On Sunday night around 11pm, a car was driving on Marquette Road when it rear-ended a sedan near the intersection of Indiana Avenue in the city’s Park Manor neighborhood. A police officer who was at a gas station saw the two vehicles and came over to the scene to provide assistance. He obtained information from the couple in the sedan and then walked back to the car which caused the crash – but that driver then sped away. The fleeing car headed toward the Dan Ryan Expressway; but when it reached State Street, it slammed into a minivan that was trying to turn left. Four people in the minivan suffered injuries, as did the driver of the fleeing car. The two occupants in the sedan that was involved in the hit-and-run crash were hurt as well.
To be sure, the driver of the fleeing car faces several criminal charges once he recovers from his injuries. But he could also be named as the defendant in personal injury lawsuits that were filed by all six people who were hurt by his reckless actions. These suits provide a method for the victims to receive reimbursement for medical costs, lost wages from work absenteeism due to the auto accidents, and possibly even monetary damages for pain and suffering.