Posted On: April 22, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

$13.7 Million Illinois Wrongful Death Verdict Awarded to Family of BMW Salesman Killed in Chicago Car Crash During 90mph Test Drive

A Cook County jury has awarded the family of a BMW salesman killed in a Chicago car accident $13.7 million. Roger Czapski died on August 4, 2004 while taking a client for a test drive in a BMW 530i. Inverness resident Christopher Maher was driving the car at a speed of around 90mph- more than twice the 45 mph speed limit for that area of Algonquin Road.

The BMW hit another car before striking a light pole and exploding. Czapski, 22, died in the fiery Illinois motor vehicle accident. Maher and two of his friends who were in the car with them survived the collision.

Maher was given a citation for driving 40 mph over the speed limit when the Chicago auto accident happened. Despite the substantial Illinois wrongful death award, Czapski’s father Mark says the money doesn’t bring back his son and that his own life ended when the 22-year-old was killed.

Speeding in Illinois
In Illinois, the maximum speed limit on rural interstates is 65 mph, 55 mph on interstate highways in or close to major cities and other highways, and 30 mph in urban areas unless otherwise noted. The maximum speed limit outside urban areas for campers, house cars, private living coaches, recreational vehicles, vehicles towing other vehicles, and vehicles that carry a gross weight of 8,001 or greater is 55 mph. Still, drivers are obligated to exercise the reasonable and proper in relation to the road and traffic conditions.

According to the Illinois State Police:
• 32% of deadly crashes involved speeding.
• Often, in speed-related accidents, only one vehicle was involved.

Ways to Avoid Speeding Accidents:
• Follow the posted speed limit
• Drive slower under less ideal road conditions
• Drive along with the flow of traffic
• Lower your speed at night
• Make sure your car is properly maintained
• Allow for sufficient stopping distance between you and the vehicle in front of you
• Don’t drink and drive

$13 million for fatal 90 mph test drive, Chicago Sun TImes, April 22, 2009

Speed Limit Enforcement, Illinois State Police

Related Web Resource:
Speeding, Advocates for Highway Safety

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