It’s always bad when a motorcyclist is hurt in a collision caused by another vehicle who failed to see the bike. But it’s worse when the individual who caused the motorcycle accident was drunk at the time. And it’s positively abhorrent when the impaired driver is a former law enforcement officer.
Sadly, it appears that all three of these elements were present in an injury crash in Coles County last month. Around 5:15pm on the evening of Friday, June 21st, a 51-year old Ashmore man was in Charleston riding his motorcycle eastbound in the inside lane of Lincoln Avenue just past Eastern Illinois University. As he began slowing for a red light at 18th Street, a sport utility vehicle pulled out of a business driveway from the right side and tried to turn left onto Lincoln, but wound up colliding with the bike.
The motorcyclist was ejected from the bike and suffered critical injuries, and had to be rushed to an Urbana hospital. The 55-year old Mattoon man driving the SUV was cited for driving under the influence. But perhaps the most disturbing revelation is that he is a former Charleston Police Department officer and a former chief deputy for the Coles County Sheriff’s Office.
From the information given, it appears that the Mattoon man will be held primarily or solely responsible for the motorcycle accident and the injuries to the Ashmore man. That means that the motorcyclist could file a personal injury lawsuit against the SUV driver. The victim may be able to receive reimbursement for hospitalization, treatment, medication, and physical therapy expenses, as well as unearned wages from work absenteeism due to his injuries. A jury may also award him monetary damages for pain and suffering, and perhaps even punitive damages since the defendant was allegedly drunk at the time of the collision.