A four-car pileup left a 50-year-old Chicago grandfather dead and injured two other motorists during the lunchtime rush hour on Interstate 80. The car accident occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Friday, July 11. The decedent was pronounced dead at Hazel Crest's Advocate South Suburban Hospital around 2:22 p.m.
According to the Illinois State Police, the chain-reaction collision started when a Toyota SUV piled into the rear of a Dodge car, killing the driver. Two other cars were involved. The drivers of the Hyundai and the Toyota were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not thought to be life threatening. The driver and a passenger in the Pontiac were unhurt. Eastbound lanes on I-80 in the Hazel Crest area near Kedzie Avenue were closed for three hours. Police said the driver who caused the accident may have been looking at his or her GPS or texting.
Not only does the grieving family have to cope with the sudden loss of a loved one, they have to live with the knowledge that the driver who caused the accident might have been violating the new cell phone and texting laws. In January of this year, the use of all hand-held devices was banned while driving in the state of Illinois. In addition to the general ban on hand-held devices, all drivers in Illinois are specifically barred from texting. Fines for violating the cell phone law start at $75.
Illinois state law does not allow bereaved families to claim punitive damages in a wrongful death suit. However, in addition to seeking compensation for pecuniary damages for economic losses, plaintiffs may sue for sorry, grief and mental suffering of the survivors.
Source: NBCChicago.com, "'No Texting and Driving': Family Begs Drivers After Fatal Crash," Regina Waldrup, July 13, 2014
Source: Illinois Compiled Statutes § 12-610.2
Source: My Fox Chicago, "Man killed in four-vehicle crash on I-80", July 11, 2014