A few decades ago, children all across Illinois used to walk to school unaccompanied. These days, parents and other grownups usually walk with these kids to school in an effort to protect them from unscrupulous individuals who would do their children harm. Unfortunately, an incident last month illustrates that even an adult presence can’t protect youngsters from everything that can befall them.
On the morning of Wednesday, October 23 around 7:45am, a woman was walking her seven-year old son to school in the Chicago suburb of Chicago Heights, which is about five miles west of the Indiana border. At the intersection of Chicago Street and 16th Street in front of Washington-McKinley Elementary School, the boy had to jump over some water in the street that was flowing due to a burst water main. The boy was struck by a car and had to be rushed to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
This week, the Chicago Tribune reported that the mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against not only the man driving the car, but also Chicago Heights School District 170. The suit alleges that since the driver of the car was a school district employee and was operating a vehicle that was registered to the school district, the district is also responsible for the auto-pedestrian accident and the death of the young boy. The suit alleges that the man was driving at an excessive speed and in a negligent manner at the time of the accident.
Though the lawsuit does not specify an amount for damages, the plaintiffs could potentially receive reimbursement for hospital and medical expenses as well as damages for pain and suffering and loss of companionship. They may also be awarded the estimated future wages that the seven-year old would have earned in his lifetime.