Chicago drivers involved in accidents are required to stop, exchange personal and insurance information and, when applicable, render reasonable aid to injured victims. The crash must be reported. Under Illinois laws, drivers are obligated to remain at the scene if someone is hurt or dies.
The woman who struck and killed a 25-year-old Elgin man, then drove away from the motorcycle accident, had a chronic problem with traffic citations. The 51-year-old was ticketed nine times for driving illegally since 1994, all for operating a vehicle with a suspended license.
The traffic infractions added to the defendant's problems as she stood before a Kane County sentencing judge. The woman pleaded guilty to two felonies - aggravated DUI and failure to report a traffic fatality.
Authorities said the woman's car was turning at an Elgin intersection, when the vehicle struck a motorcycle and pitched the rider onto the car's hood. The motorcyclist died at the crash site. Witnesses stated the car driver stopped for a short time after the fatality and then fled the scene.
Police found the woman not long afterward at her boyfriend's residence.
Prosecutors said the defendant's history of multiple traffic violations pointed to the woman's repeated "gross disregard" of the law. The unlicensed driver was given a five-year prison term, minus time already served in jail.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed a nearly 14 percent increase in hit-and-run fatalities between 2009 and 2011. In 2009, drivers fled the scene in 1,274 fatal crashes; by 2011, hit-and-run fatalities jumped to 1,449. Hit-and-run drivers are often motivated to flee because they've done something wrong -- unlicensed or uninsured driving, a parole violation or driving while intoxicated.
Many accident victims are unaware their own auto insurance policies include uninsured motorist coverage, which covers financial losses when negligent drivers escape responsibility. A personal injury attorney will make sure you receive the maximum compensation.
couriernews.suntimes.com, "Elgin woman gets prison time for leaving scene of fatal crash" No author given, Dec. 08, 2013