You’ve undoubtedly heard stories on the news about crimes committed in Illinois where the suspect is unknown and/or still at large. Many times in these instances, authorities will seek the public’s help in obtaining information about the person responsible for the offense. But you don’t always hear whether the suspect was apprehended, or if the public’s input had anything to do with it.
That’s why this story in Rockford is a breath of fresh air. On the night of Monday, December 16 around 9:15pm, four men got off a bus on East State Street just west of the Interstate 90 overpass (near the Clock Tower). The men, who were visiting Rockford from China on business, were walking on the street toward their hotel when a GMC Jimmy sport utility vehicle struck the group and then fled the scene. A 27-year old man was killed, while a 36-year old man was transported to a Rockford hospital, but he is not expected to survive his injuries.
Rockford Police issued a description of the SUV, and a few days later, they got a tip on the vehicle’s location. That led police to the Belvidere home of a 49-year old man, who was subsequently arrested and charged with failing to notify authorities after an auto accident, though additional charges may be filed.
The exact circumstances of the hit-and-run auto-pedestrian accident are still unclear, but even if the Belvidere man isn’t charged with other offenses, he will still likely be held primarily or solely responsible for the death of the 27-year old man and the critical injuries suffered by his 36-year old colleague. By law, the relatives of the deceased man could file a wrongful death lawsuit in Winnebago County; and the relatives of the 36-year old could file a personal injury lawsuit (or a wrongful death suit should he fail to recover).