Leaving the scene of an auto accident is illegal in the state of Illinois. There are many reasons why drivers do this – perhaps they get scared and panic, or they don’t think anyone got hurt, or they simply think that they can get away with it. But the bottom line is that these hit-and-run drivers should know that what they’re doing is wrong. Especially if the offender is an office of the law.
This week, a Chicago Police officer was charged with fleeing the scene of an accident and filing a false police report in connection from an incident where a bicyclist was injured after being struck by a car in the city’s Logan Square neighborhood. Back on August 3, the 33-year old cop was off-duty when the Ford F150 pickup truck he was driving struck a woman riding a bicycle around 3:30am near the intersection of Wabanasia and California Avenues just north of Humboldt Park. The 25-year old woman lost consciousness and suffered serious injuries.
The pickup driver called 911 to report the Chicago bicycle accident and even asked the woman if she was all right. But then he reportedly got back into his truck, drove around the victim, and struck parked cars as he fled the scene. The woman’s boyfriend, who witnessed the accident, said that prior to hitting the bicycle the truck was speeding and weaving between lanes and also ran a stop sign. Unbeknownst to the pickup’s driver, the truck’s front license plate had dislodged during the crash and was found later by police.
In addition, the cop allegedly tried to conceal his involvement by filing a police report that claimed the bicyclist was at fault in the accident, and that the woman fled the scene after being hit. The 33-year old cop has been assigned to desk duty with pay.
Should she choose to do so, the victim could file a personal injury lawsuit against both the officer and the Chicago Police Department. She could receive reimbursement for medical costs as well as damages for pain and suffering.