Another Chicago-area cyclist has been killed in a hit-and-run. This most recent tragedy unfolded this past Tuesday in Elgin when a reckless driver struck and killed one cyclist and left another critically injured.

According to the Chicago Tribune and the Elgin Police Department, the shocking timeline began around 4 pm near East Chicago and Villa Court when the driver, Lance C. Neal of Elgin, IL struck his first victim. That victim was able to flag down police in the area who then pursued Neal. As police attempted to stop him, Neal fled at a high rate of speed. Unfortunately, as police neared, they came upon the vehicle involved in another collision at the intersection of Raymond and Purify Drive, also in Elgin. This second collision claimed the life of bicyclist Sandra Sampey, a 52-year-old woman and left a 58-year-old male bicyclist in critical condition. Both bicyclists are from Bartlett, Illinois. Neal then fled on foot but was apprehended a few hours later after an extensive police search.
Hit-and-Run in Illinois
When hit-and-run incidents occur, in Illinois the Illinois Vehicle Code requires that a motorist stay at the scene of a crash. Additionally, that motorist is legally mandated to:
1. Stay at the scene of the crash long enough to provide the injured party with their information.
2. If necessary or if requested to arrange for medical care for the injured bicyclist.
Sections 11-401(a) and (b) of the Illinois Vehicle Code lay the groundwork for the motorist:
(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in personal injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident, or as close thereto as possible and shall then forthwith return to, and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until the requirements of Section 11-403 [625 ILCS 5/11-403] have been fulfilled. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
(b) Any person who has failed to stop or to comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) shall, as soon as possible but in no case later than one-half hour after such motor vehicle accident, or, if hospitalized and incapacitated from reporting at any time during such period, as soon as possible but in no case later than one-half hour after being discharged from the hospital, report the place of the accident, the date, the approximate time, the driver’s name and address, the registration number of the vehicle driven, and the names of all other occupants of such vehicle, at a police station or sheriff’s office near the place where such accident occurred. No report made as required under this paragraph shall be used, directly or indirectly, as a basis for the prosecution of any violation of paragraph (a).
Neal failed to do any of what was required and not surprisingly, today the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office released a statement via Facebook announcing the charges Neal is facing. All are felony charges and are listed as reckless homicide, failure to report an accident or death, aggravated fleeing a police officer and driving without insurance. Not surprisingly, due to the driver’s conduct and the heartbreaking loss, Judge Noland has set bail at 1 million dollars with a court hearing scheduled for August 7, 2020.
A Community Impacted
Every time a bicyclist is injured or killed is a tragedy. Even more poignant here perhaps, is Elgin’s love for the sport of cycling and its role as the host for the Dennis Jurs Memorial Race. This race is an annual tradition honoring the life and passion of fallen cyclist Dennis Jurs and part of the 10-day Intelligentsia Cup Race which is seen as one of the most well-respected bike races in the country. Keating Law Offices is a proud sponsor of Dennis Jurs Memorial Race and is always impacted when a member of the community is lost. This year the event was cancelled due to COVID-19, however the race is set for next year from July 16 – 25, 2021 and we like everyone else are looking forward to it.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this senseless incident and to the Elgin and Bartlett communities.