For people who drive in downtown Chicago, it is essential that they pay extra attention to pedestrians who are walking in or near the roadways. This is especially true on the Magnificent Mile, which is a mecca for tourists and shoppers. And this attention to safe driving begins with staying on the correct side of the road.
Unfortunately, a 82-year old woman did not heed that advice; and as a result, two pedestrians have been hospitalized. Late Friday afternoon a bit after 5pm, the woman was driving south on Michigan Avenue in the northbound lanes. A 35-year old man and a 31-year old woman were trying to cross Michigan Avenue between East Lake Drive and Wacker Place. The vehicle struck the two pedestrians as they were in a marked crosswalk, then continued on and crashed into a stopped vehicle in the northbound lanes.
The two pedestrians were rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and one of them was listed in serious-to-critical condition. The driver was issued a total of six moving violations, including disobeying a red light, driving over the median, driving left of center, negligent driving, and striking pedestrians in a marked crosswalk. Police are not sure exactly why the woman was driving the wrong way.
This may be a case of an elderly person’s diminished driving capabilities due to physical or mental impairments. But there are two silver linings to this incident: A) no one was killed, and B) it can serve as a warning for other Illinois residents (and their elderly relatives) who may be getting too old to drive. It may be difficult to convince a senior citizen to relinquish the keys to his or her vehicle, but it may save them to ordeal of dealing with a personal injury lawsuit. In this case, the two injured pedestrians will probably be entitled to damages for lost wages due to work absenteeism and reimbursement for medical costs.