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Woman skips court appearance on charges in wreck that killed 1

It's something every motorcyclist dreads — being stuck by a vehicle while riding. For one couple, that nightmare scenario became a reality last month when their Harley-Davidson Road Glide was hit by a 45-year-old woman allegedly impaired by the effects of heroin.

The couple had taken a day off work from their respective jobs — he at Black Diamond Plumbing and Mechanical, she at Centegra Hospital in Woodstock — to spend some quality time together. They set out for Lake Geneva, Wis., for a nice lunch where they discussed plans to pay for their 18-year-old son's tuition next fall at Platteville's University of Wisconsin. When they finished lunch, they set off toward McHenry to stop by the husband's parents' home.

They never arrived. A driver in a Ford Taurus crossed over the center line, colliding with the couple's Harley. The father of two was seriously injured and remains in a wheelchair. He missed his older son's graduation from high school and had to watch his younger son's graduation from middle school live-streamed to his hospital bed.

But by that time, his wife of 20 years had died at 42 of the injuries she suffered in the motorcycle wreck with the allegedly impaired woman. Police charged the driver, from Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, with driving under the influence, felony aggravated DUI causing the death of another and driving under a suspended license.

But to add insult to devastating injury, the driver didn't show up in court for a June hearing. A warrant was issued by the McHenry County judge presiding over the criminal case. The injured man expressed his frustration, saying "I don't understand how she was not still in jail or why there was bail even offered in a situation like this."

He has filed civil litigation against the allegedly at-fault driver on behalf of his deceased wife, according to court records.

Often there are civil and criminal cases filed in the courts simultaneously after a serious accident. A plaintiff does not have to wait for the outcome of a criminal trial before filing personal injury or wrongful death claims.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Authorities: Woman who caused fatal crash was under influence of heroin," Amanda Marazzo, June 10, 2016

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