Attorney Michael S. Keating of Keating Law Offices has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Chicago bicyclist who was tragically killed in a hit-and-run crash on September 23, 2018. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Estate of Jesse Rodriguez, the Chicago bicyclist who was riding near the intersection of Devon Avenue and the North Shore Channel trail when a juvenile driver turning from McCormick Boulevard to Devon Avenue jumped the curb and struck the bicyclist. The motorist then ironically struck a “Yield To Bikes” sign before fleeing the scene.
The North Shore Channel trail runs alongside McCormick Boulevard. Devon Avenue is frequently used by bicyclists connecting from the North Shore Channel trail on the west side of the channel to the east side. The trail on the east side of the river then connects to trails alongside the Chicago River.
The driver fled the scene before later turning himself into police after images of the vehicle and license plate were released. The boy was charged with felony counts of reckless homicide, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident. The juvenile case is currently pending under seal in the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. It is notable that authorities charged the motorist with “reckless” driving meaning that the acts were egregious and not just a mistake. The civil case is currently pending in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. The lawsuit alleges that this preventable crash occurred because the motorist did not follow even the most basic duties of a motorist. The lawsuit further alleges that the motorist:
- Drove on a sidewalk contrary to and in direct violation of Section 9-40-070 of the Municipal Code of Chicago;
- Failed to exercise due care to avoid colliding with any person operating a bicycle, contrary to and in direct violation of Section 9-40-160 of the Municipal Code of Chicago;
- Drove unnecessarily close to, toward, or near a bicyclist, contrary to and in direct violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-703(e);
- Carelessly and improperly operated his motor vehicle at a speed greater than was reasonable and proper in regard to traffic conditions, contrary to and in direct violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-601;
- Failed to apply the brakes of his motor vehicle and reduce speed at such a distance as to control the movement of and stop said vehicle before impact, contrary to and in direct violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-601;
- Failed to keep a proper lookout for bicycles and other vehicles on the roadway;
- Failed to keep said motor vehicle under proper and sufficient control; and
- Failed to stop and remain at the scene contrary to and in violation of Section 11-401(a) of the Illinois Vehicle Code.
Attorney Michael S. Keating said the following about this occurrence, “This is yet another tragic example of the life of a Chicago bicyclist lost in a crash that was entirely preventable. The bicyclist here could not have been more experienced and in a place where he could expect to be protected from motor vehicle traffic. This crash should simply have never occurred and the age of the motorist is no excuse.”