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New husband, stranded motorist die in crash south of Chicago

Cook County pedestrians face risks on and near roads that drivers often don't consider. People sheltered within the confines of a vehicle easily can forget the vulnerability of non-motorists, especially during the night when pedestrians may be unexpected and hard to see.

A 49-year-old man died the same day of his wedding, when the groom and his bride stopped to aid a motorist stranded less than 50 miles south of Chicago. It was approaching midnight when the couple was driving to a hotel, after celebrating their marriage with family and friends. The new husband and wife could not pass by a driver whose car had run into a ditch alongside a busy road.

The couple parked in a driveway near the disabled vehicle. The bride remained in the truck as her husband, a former U.S. Army Ranger, walked over to the stranded motorist. The Good Samaritan and the woman, later identified as a 42-year-old Crown Point, Indiana, resident, were standing by the road when the pair was struck by three cars, one after the other.

Neither victim survived the blunt-force trauma injuries despite the immediate efforts of the bride, a registered nurse. Investigators filed no criminal charges. None of the drivers were suspected of drinking and driving.

The husband was survived by his new spouse, two daughters and a son and daughter who had hours before become his stepchildren.

A family's recovery following a tragic accident frequently is viewed from a financial standpoint. The costs of a funeral and burial, the victim's final medical expenses and future wage losses represent actual damages. There are also psychological effects for survivors.

Pain and suffering is not exclusive to fatal accident victims. The emotional trauma of witnessing or adjusting to the death of a loved one can be addressed in a wrongful death claim. Settlements and damage awards give those left behind the support to move forward.

Source: suntimes.com, Mitch Armentrout and Christin Nance Lazerus, Dec. 15, 2013

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