Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day set aside by Illinois and the U.S. to celebrate the late civil rights leader. But since it is a national and state holiday, many people get the day off of work, and all schools are closed for the day. So it’s likely that there were more people out and about on MLK Day than on a typical Monday – including many children.
Unfortunately, one youth was injured in an auto-pedestrian accident on the West Side of Chicago on that holiday. Around 7pm on the evening of Monday, January 20, a 13-year old boy was crossing South Pulaski Road (which is about a quarter mile west of Garfield Park) just north of West Congress Parkway, which parallels the Dwight Eisenhower Expressway in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago. According to police, a car traveling southbound on Pulaski struck the boy and then fled the scene of the auto accident; the driver is still at large. The boy suffered injuries and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital.
Police are still seeking information as to the identification and whereabouts of the hit-and-run driver. Not only does the driver face criminal charges for fleeing the scene of an accident, he or she can also be named as the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit filed by the parents of the teenager (since minors are not permitted to initiate legal action under Illinois law). This type of lawsuit could allow the plaintiffs to collect reimbursement for all medical costs incurred by the 13-year old, including ambulance charges, hospitalization and treatment expenses, medications, and even physical therapy sessions. A jury could also award the plaintiffs monetary damages for pain and suffering.
One moral of this story: it’s always essential to increase your awareness and change your driving behaviors on weekday holidays when school is not in session.