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Charge reinstated in Chicago bicyclist's death

The Chicago bicycling community can take heart in the bit of good news surrounding the case of the 26-year-old cyclist who was killed almost three years ago by a driver who was reported to be both speeding and impaired at the time of the fatal crash.

The accident occurred where Larabee Street intersects with Clybourn Avenue on May 29, 2013. According to earlier reports, the 28-year-old driver of a Mercedes sedan struck the bicyclist at 50 mph. Police report that the driver's blood alcohol content was .127, well over the legal limit. The Park Ridge man was arrested on charges of failure to stay in his own lane, misdemeanor DUI, aggravated DUI, reckless driving and reckless homicide.

Despite those charges, in July of last year, a judge dismissed the most serious charge against the man — reckless homicide. The judge agreed with defense counsel that the way the indictment was worded was very vague and didn't allow the defendant's attorney to prepare an adequate defense. The lawyer argued that the state attorney failed to specify which of the defendant's actions were reckless.

The state attorney appealed the dismissal, and last week the Cook County state's attorney announced the appeal was successful and the charge would be reinstated.

The Illinois Appellate Court determined no law required the specificity the defense had cited. A crash victim advocate for Active Transportation Alliance said that on the May 5 hearing, testimony will be heard from the judge responsible for signing the search warrant to test the driver's BAC. Some police officers may testify as well, according to the advocate.

Whenever there is a death due to reckless driving behaviors, it is important to fight for justice for the deceased. But the battle can be fought on two fronts — in both the criminal and civil courts, and neither is dependent on the other in order to proceed.

Source: StreetsBlog Chicago, "Reckless Homicide Charge Has Been Reinstated in the Bobby Cann Case," John Greenfield, April 07, 2016

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