A fatal motorcycle crash in Naperville, about a half hour outside of the city, was reportedly the result of a motorist who was not only full of alcohol, but also anger.
Our Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers know that incidents like this are far too common, as are those that, like this one, involve a hit-and-run.
Thankfully, the individual responsible for this reckless act of violence was eventually caught and is now facing criminal sanctions.
The 32-year-old suspect reportedly turned in front of traffic at a busy intersection in the middle of the day last June. As a result, a 63-year-old motorcyclist slammed into the side of his vehicle. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation reports this is the number one cause of fatal motorcycle crashes nationwide -- a driver that fails to yield the right-of-way and turns in front of an oncoming rider.
At the time of that incident, the younger driver had been chasing a car full of teenagers, whom he had reportedly been involved in an altercation with just a few minutes before in an apparent road rage incident. The teenagers had reportedly threatened the man, according to a later account by defense lawyers. However, if those threats generated fear, it's not clear why he would then be chasing them.
What we do know is that he was so focused on catching up to those teenagers that he was barreling through traffic, with little to no disregard for the lives of anyone else on the road that day.
Appallingly, even after the crash, the younger driver did not stop to see if the motorcyclist was alright or how he might offer assistance. He fled. And his fleeing was not motivated by the fact that he was afraid for the consequences to himself. Rather, he remained intent on catching up with the car load of teens and so, he continued to give chase.
The driver had admitted to using marijuana earlier in the day, and drug tests would later reveal trace amounts of cocaine also in his system.
The motorcyclist, too, was reportedly under the influence of alcohol, but prosecutors stressed that what happened that afternoon was in no way the fault of the deceased rider. Prosecutors said he was doing nothing more than riding his motorcycle on a clear, sunny afternoon day.
A verdict from the judge in the bench trial is due at the end of this month.
While this is an egregious and tragic example of how road rage can quickly explode into a life-shattering event, the truth is, there are many manifestations of it.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that the most common form of road rage is excessive and aggressive speeding, especially during inclement weather or heavy traffic. Speed is a factor in one out of every three fatal accidents. The reason it's so dangerous is that drivers have less time to react to a dangerous situation, meaning it is going to increase the risk that the wreck will be more severe than it would otherwise.
The DOT recommends the following actions to help avoid a confrontation with a road rager:
- Don't react if another driver is behaving uncivilly toward you. Don't make eye contact, don't accelerate, brake, tailgate or suddenly swerve. All of this can be scene as provocations.
- If you are approached by a driver who is aggressive or think you are being followed, travel to the nearest law enforcement headquarters or substation.
- Lock up your doors.
- Resist the urge to pick a fight or display a weapon. That will only serve to escalate the situation.
If you have been injured in a Chicago motorcycle accident, contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.