When it comes to auto accidents, some drivers try to provide wild excuses as to what caused them. Like, “The traffic light was shorter than usual.” Or “The speed limit sign was hidden.” Or even “The other car came out of nowhere.”
Well, there was a collision in rural Stephenson County this week where the cause sounded like one of these scatterbrained excuses – but in this case, it was legitimate. The crash occurred because of a missing stop sign; and sadly, a woman is dead as a result.
On Monday morning around 7am, a 32-year old woman was driving west on Montague Road about a mile south of German Valley and ten miles southeast of Freeport when she entered the intersection with Rock City Road. Unbeknownst to her, the stop sign facing westbound Montague had been blown over by strong winds about ten minutes before her arrival. So when she entered the intersection, her Toyota was hit on the driver’s side by a northbound Saturn, and the 32-year old died from her injuries.
This appears to be one of those rare cases in Illinois where neither the victim nor the other driver were at fault. The liability may rest on the municipality that is responsible for maintaining the road signage in that area – which is likely Stephenson County. If her husband decides to file a wrongful death lawsuit on her behalf, a variety of factors will have to be considered, including:
- how often the stop sign had blown over in the past (if at all)
- the last time the sign had been inspected
- what procedures the municipality had for replacing downed road signs
- whether the intersection should have been controlled by a four-way stop or traffic light
In addition to lost future wages and burial expense reimbursement, the husband could conceivably collect monetary damages for pain and suffering and loss of care and companionship to their 21-month old child.