Posted On: May 29, 2010

Drive Carefully to Prevent Cook County Car Accidents: AAA Chicago Says 1.5 Million Motorists to Drive from Illinois Over Memorial Weekend

According to AAA Chicago, approximately 1.5 million people will be driving from Illinois over the holiday weekend. While a long weekend is always a wonderful opportunity for friends and family to get together, the Illinois Department of Transportation is cautioning that this weekend is also one of the deadliest periods on the roads.

According to the IDOT, 30 people died in 17 Illinois traffic crashes during the Memorial weekend last year—that’s about 9 deaths a day. While law enforcement agencies have stepped up their patrols and police enforcement to hopefully keep the Illinois car accident death toll down this year, it is still up to drivers to operate their vehicles carefully, wear there seat belts, and refrain from disobeying the traffic laws, speeding, driving drunk, talking on the cell phone, text messaging, or following too closely.

AAA offers a number of tips for safe travel over the Memorial Day weekend, including:

• Don’t drive aggressively
• Make sure your car is properly serviced before heading off
• Don’t keep stepping on the brakes
• Program your GPS before you get in the car not while you are stuck in traffic

Even though it is a holiday weekend, if you were injured in a Chicago car accident that was caused by another party’s reckless or negligent driving or because a vehicle malfunctioned or a traffic light didn’t work properly, it is important that you report the incident and speak with a Cook County motor vehicle crash lawyer about your case.

More people expected to travel this holiday weekend, SunTimes, May 28, 2010

Related Web Resources:

CyberDrive, Illinois

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Posted On: May 26, 2010

Mother Sues Peoria County Sheriff's Department for Daughter’s Fatal Illinois Car Accident Death During Police Pursuit

Kim Rhoades, the mother of Ashlyn Payne, has filed an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit against the Peoria County Sheriff's Department. Payne was pronounced brain dead in October 2009 after she was injured in a single-vehicle crash.

The 18-year-old was riding in a car driven by Jamie D. Duhs. also 18. The two of them had been drinking that night when the vehicle the were riding crashed.

A sheriff’s deputy was called to the scene and that was when Duhs got back in the vehicle and drove off. A police pursuit ensued that reached speeds of up to 90 mph. She too was critically injured during the Illinois car crash.

In her Illinois wrongful death lawsuit, Rhoades is accusing the sheriff’s deputy of acting in a “willful and wanton” way that contributed to her daughter’s car accident death. She claims that the deputy did not follow police pursuit policies and kept chasing after the vehicle after doing so was no longer safe.

Rhoades is seeking unspecified damages.

Duhs, who was also critically injured during the Illinois car accident was cited for DUI. Her blood-alcohol content was 0.213%, which was way over the .80 legal driving limit for alcohol. Illinois has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under age 21. Since then, she has pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated driving under the influence. Rhoades had requested that Duhs, a close friend of her daughter’s, avoid jail time. Duhs is sentenced to 180 days in jail, probation for three years, and 200 hours of public service.

Mother sues sheriff for trying to stop car, PJStar, April 30, 2010

Crash Victim Dies, Central Illinois News Center

Related Web Resources:
Peoria County Sheriff's Office

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Posted On: May 21, 2010

Chicago Taxi Accident Victim Remains in Critical Condition

A Bucktown man who was injured in a hit-and-run Chicago taxi accident on May 14 remains in critical condition. Daniel Firkins was leaning through the window of a taxi that he had just summoned when, during a disagreement, the cab driver stepped on the gas and drove away with the 32-year-old still partially in the vehicle. The taxi driver then fled the car accident scene.

Firkins sustained a traumatic brain injury, two skull fractures, and other miscellaneous injuries. Tire marks on his leg also indicate that the cab had run over him. On Wednesday, his mother said that her son, who was placed in a drug-induced coma, may not make it.

David and Maureen Firkins are asking for help in identifying the cab driver. They considered the driver’s actions intentional and not accidental. The taxi involved in the Chicago cab accident is a white taxi with blue stripes.

Hit-and-Run Injury Victims
If you or someone you love was injured in a Chicago car accident involving a hit-and-run driver, you will need help collecting damages. Sometimes this means getting the company that provides the victim with insurance to pay damages. At other times, it means going after the driver’s insurer and other liable parties once the driver has been apprehended.

Motorists are supposed to stop at a Cook County car accident site to exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved. They also should call 911 in the event that medical help is required. It is a crime to hit-and-run. Not helping an injured motorist or pedestrian can cause the victims’ injuries to become more serious or, worse yet, lead to Chicago wrongful death.

Parents keep vigil over man dragged by cab, Chicago Tribune, May 19, 2010

Man critically injured in taxi accident, ABCLocal, May 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Hit-and-Run Accidents, Deadly Roads

Continue reading " Chicago Taxi Accident Victim Remains in Critical Condition " »

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Posted On: May 20, 2010

Winnetka Teen that Suffered Traumatic Brain Injury During Cook County Car Accident Shows Signs of Recovery

A 16-year-old Winnetka pedestrian who sustained brain swelling and a skull fracture after she was struck during a Cook County hit and run car crash last Friday is beginning to show signs of recovery. Doctors removed the ventilator tube from Sarah Goone on Wednesday.

The New Trier High School teen underwent surgery to alleviate the pressure and bleeding in her brain. Doctors also had to temporarily remove a portion of her skull so that the swelling could go down. Goone’s family says that she is still experiencing some difficulties with her speech.

The Cook County pedestrian accident happened as Goone was crossing Green Bay Road and Winnetka Avenue. She was struck by a vehicle driven by Erin Hughes, 18, who also studies at New Trier Township. According to preliminary toxicology test findings, Hughes had tetrahydrocannabinol in her system when the car accident happened. The chemical is found in the marijuana plant. Hughes is charged in the hit-and-run driving accident. Other charges may be pending. If convicted, she could serve up to seven years in prison for the most serious charge.

Drugged Driving
Driving under the influence of any drug can be dangerous. Drugs can affect cognition, perception, balance, attention, reaction time, coordination, and other faculties required to drive safely. For example, Marijuana can impact the parts of the brain that control coordination, movement, balance, judgment, sensations, and memory.

Impaired driving puts not just the driver’s life at risk, but also endangers the lives of others on the road. Drugged driving, like drunk driving and distracted driving, is negligent driving and injured parties may have grounds for filing a Chicago car accident lawsuit.

New Trier student charged in hit-and-run 'praying for Sarah, and I hope she gets better', Chicago Sun-Times, May 20, 2010

Hit-and-run suspect: I'm praying for Sarah, ABC7News, May 20, 2010

Related Web Resources:

NIDA InfoFacts: Drugged Driving, National Institute of Drug Abuse

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Posted On: May 14, 2010

Chicago Car Accident that Killed One Pedestrian and Injured at Least Eight Other People Leads to DUI Charges

Hector Ramirez is charged with aggravated DUI in a Southwest Side car crash involving a death, reckless homicide, aggravated DUI without a driver’s license, operating a vehicle without insurance, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, driving without a valid license, and not using due care for a pedestrian in a roadway. The 32-year-old is accused of causing a Chicago car accident that involved his vehicle hitting three pedestrians and three other autos on May 7.

One of the pedestrians, 25-year-old Jamie Castillo, was later pronounced dead at a Cook County hospital. Three adults were admitted to hospitals in serious-to-critical condition. Four others were admitted in good-to-fair condition. One young child was admitted to Stroger Hospital in fair condition. Ramirez, who was placed under arrest, was taken to a hospital after he complained of chest pains.

Chicago Car Accidents
Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of catastrophic car accidents. A driver who decides to drive drunk is behaving carelessly and recklessly while endangering people’s lives. Unfortunately, even though people know better, there are those who still choose to drive while intoxicated. Often, it is the usually the people who weren’t driving drunk that end up suffering the most. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 434 Illinois drunk driving deaths in 2008.

On May 3, in another Chicago, Illinois car collision, Manuel Figueroa was waiting to enter the right lane of southbound I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) when he was hit by a Berwyn man in a GMC pickup truck who had lost control of his vehicle and swerved across three lanes. Figueroa died later that day. Police believe the Berwyn driver was drunk when he caused the South Side car wreck.

DUI charges filed against man in fatal Southwest Side crash, Chicago Sun-Times, May 9, 2010

DUI Suspected in Fatal Stevenson Crash, MyFoxChicago, May 4, 2010

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Illinois

Drunk Driving, Justia

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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Posted On: May 11, 2010

Mother to Sue Chicago Heights Over Steger Car Crash that Killed Her 5-Year-Old

The mother of 5-year-old Michael Langford Jr. is going to sue Chicago Heights and its police department for her son’s Cook County wrongful death in a Steger car accident. Langford was strapped in the backseat of the car driven by Cecil Conner when the vehicle crashed into a tree. Prosecutors contend that Conner was so drunk and high that he shouldn’t have been driving.

Langford’s mother, Kathie LaFond was the one driving when police pulled her over for failing to use a turn signal at around 2:35 am on Monday. LaFond, who was sober, was taken into custody for driving on a suspended license. Conner was allowed to drive off with the boy. He crashed the vehicle forty minutes later.

Now, the boy’s family is suing Chicago Heights and its police department for negligence. They contend that the arresting officer should never have let Conner, who was intoxicated, drive off with the boy.

Meantime, police sources say the arresting officer told Conner to go directly to the Chicago Police Department, which he didn’t do. They also claim that he did not appear drunk at the time. Conner is charged with aggravated driving under the influence and reckless driving.

Chicago Car Accidents
Determining who is liable for causing a Chicago, Illinois car accident can be tough without legal help. There may be more than one party responsible for causing your personal injury accident or the wrongful death of a family member. Depending on the specifics of your case, examples of other possible liable parties:

• Auto manufacturer
• Maintenance shop
• Restaurant/bar/private citizen who overserved alcohol to a motorist/minor
• Police for engaging in a police pursuit that caused the traffic crash
• Government entity responsible for a dangerous road defect

$500,000 bail for man accused of DUI in fatal crash, Chicago Tribune, May 11, 2010

Mother Of Boy Killed In Steger Crash To File Suit, CBS, May 11, 2010

Related Web Resources:
The 6 Most Common Causes of Automobile Crashes,

CyberDrive Illinois

Continue reading " Mother to Sue Chicago Heights Over Steger Car Crash that Killed Her 5-Year-Old " »

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Posted On: May 7, 2010

Illinois Car Accident Lawsuit: Uhl Family Seeks $46 Million for Wrongful Death of Daughters From Police Pursuit

The family of 18-year-old Jessica Uhl and her 15-year-old sister Kelli, are seeking $46 million in wrongful death recovery from the state of Illinois and former Illinois State Trooper Matt Mitchell. The Collinsville sisters were killed on November 23, 2007 during a head-on crash with Mitchell.

The deadly Illinois car accident occurred on Interstate 64 as the former state trooper was headed to another traffic crash site. Prosecutors have said that Mitchell was distracted when he struck the girls’ auto. They contend that he was using his cell phone, emailing on the computer of the police vehicle, and driving at a speed of 126 mph when the collision happened.

Because the state of Illinois has sovereign immunity from lawsuits, the wrongful death case is going before the Court of Claims rather than a civil jury. The girls parents, Brian Uhl and Kimberly Schlau, filed their Illinois car accident lawsuit in the Court of claims on April 19, just three days after Mitchell pleaded guilty to two counts each of aggravated reckless driving and reckless homicide. His sentence is 30 months probation. As part of his plea agreement, the former cop agreed to never work as a police officer again.

Following the conclusion of his criminal case, Mitchell changed his story. He claims that he did not cause the girls’ wrongful deaths and that he only pleaded guilty because he didn’t think he would receive a fair trial.

There are four claimants seeking recovery from the state and Mitchell: The girls’ parents, stepsister Maddy, and stepbrother Tony. They are claiming loss of love, society, companionship, and affection.

Distracted Driving
Driving while distracted, especially at high speeds, is dangerous not just to the motorist who is preoccupied but to the pedestrians and other vehicles that happen to be around at the time. It doesn’t matter how urgent it is that you get to your destination as soon as possible or that you obtain whatever information you need from the person that you are texting or talking with on the phone. Nothing is more important than safely getting where you need to go and making sure that you aren’t involved in a Chicago, Illinois car accident that could destroy other people’s lives.

Family seeks $46 million for daughters’ deaths, St, Louis Globe-Democrat, May 3, 2010

Uhl Family Wants $46 Million to Settle Lawsuit, Fox2News, May 4, 2010

2 killed in crash identified as sisters,, December 1, 2007

Related Web Resources:
Illinois State Police

Distracted Driving

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Posted On: May 6, 2010

Driver Accused of Painting Nails During Chicago Car Accident that Killed Motorcyclist is Now on Trial

Lora Hunt, the woman accused of painting her fingernails when her vehicle crashed into motorcyclist Anita Zaffke in a Lake County, Illinois car accident last year, is on trial for reckless homicide. At a Waukegan courtroom, the 48-year-old nurse maintained that she wasn’t putting nail polish on her nails when she fatally struck Zaffke.

The 56-year-old Lake Zurick motorcycle rider had stopped at a traffic signal when she was rear-ended by Hunt’s Chevrolet Impala. While Hunt acknowledged painting her nails while behind the wheel of her vehicle she says that she wasn’t doing that as she arrived at the intersection where Zaffe’s bike was stopped. Also, says that she didn’t stop because even though the traffic light had turned yellow, the vehicles around her were still moving. However, in Hunt’s written statement Hunt to police, she said that she was “distracted.”

Our Chicago, Illinois car accident lawyers cannot caution motorists enough about the dangers of distracted driving. Seemingly harmless tasks and actions can prove fatal when you do them while you are operating a motor vehicle. Earlier this year, a woman was charged with reckless driving for causing a car crash because she had been shaving her private parts and operating her vehicle at the same time.

Other distracted driving activities that can lead to car crashes include reading, applying makeup, watching movies, playing games on a PDA, surfing the Internet on a laptop, and of course, texting and/or talking to the cell phone while driving. When these kinds of activities distract a motorist to the extend that a traffic crash happens, injured parties may have grounds for a Cook County car accident lawsuit.

Woman testifies she stopped painting her nails before fatal crash, Chicago Sun-Times, May 5, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Distracted Driving Campaign, National Safety Council

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