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Illinois driver kills 2, claims he didn't see motorcycle

The inability of a Chicago motorist to see another vehicle can be caused by an obstructed view, inadequate street lighting or adverse weather. An individual or party guilty of blocking the driver's line of sight may be held accountable for a crash.

What if investigators determine nothing hindered a driver's view? Is the argument that the driver didn't see another car, pedestrian or motorcycle still valid?

Criminal actions depend on proof of wrongdoing, while civil cases rely on evidence of carelessness or recklessness. In civil court, the plaintiff's attorney must show a connection between a victim's personal injury or wrongful death and the defendant's purposeful or passive negligence. Intoxication and speeding are measurable forms of neglect. Driver distraction is often not easy to prove.

Two west central Illinois teens recently died in a motorcycle accident. A 19-year-old man was giving a lift to a 17-year-old female co-worker. The teens worked at a Jacksonville pizza shop owned by the bike operator's family.

The pair was taking a late night ride near Interstate 72 when an SUV pulled out in front of the motorcycle. The teens were hospitalized with catastrophic injuries. The bike operator died less than two hours after the collision. The passenger, a high school junior, was pronounced dead several hours later.

The 57-year-old SUV driver was cited for failure to yield after telling police he never saw the motorcycle. Crash reconstruction and driver toxicology tests are standard police procedures following fatal accidents. Criminal charges are not automatic.

The families of the teen victims can file wrongful death claims within two years of the accident, the normal statute of limitations in Illinois. A jury may find the SUV driver was fully responsible. Depending on the evidence uncovered, a court might also decide the motorcycle operator shared a portion of the blame for the deadly crash.

Source:, "Collision involving motorcycle fatal for 2" David C.L. Bauer and Cody Bozarth, Jul. 19, 2013

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