Even though stop signs in Illinois are generally placed clearly within view of vehicular traffic, motorists still sometimes ignore them. One of the more common excuses that police hear from those who are pulled over for such offenses is, “I didn’t see the stop sign.” This statement is usually suspect under the best of circumstances; but it is downright unbelievable in the case of a deadly crash in Tazewell County.
Back on October 21, a 20-year old Pekin man was driving a car west on Hickory Grove Road about four miles south of Pekin Municipal Airport when he ran a stop sign at Wagonseller Road around 8am. Later, the man told police that he was talking to his passenger and didn’t notice the stop sign.
But here’s the problem: the stop sign stood at a T intersection after which Hickory Grove Road ceased to exist. Also, there was a flashing red light on top of the stop sign, as well as an amber warning light near the intersection.
Nevertheless, the man’s car drove through the intersection, left the roadway, went airborne, struck a guy wire, and crashed in a field about 50 feet from the road. The vehicle’s passenger, a 19-year old man, was pronounced dead on the scene. The driver was indicted last week on charges of aggravated driving under the influence after THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, was found in his system after the auto accident.
Regardless of whether the 20-year old is convicted on DUI charges, he will still be held solely responsible for the wreck and the death of the teen. As a result, the surviving family members of the victim could choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the Pekin man. A jury could award the plaintiffs monetary damages for pain and suffering as well as reimbursement of burial expenses and compensation for unearned future wages.