A Deadly Crash in Little Village Took Out a Concrete Bollard

A horrific crash near West 26th Street and South California Boulevard in the Little Village area led to two deaths and two serious injuries. One of the vehicles rolled on its side and the other went careening into a dumpster.

According to ABC 7, the cause of the deadly crash is still under investigation, but we’re hoping that Chicago Police Department can get some answers by looking at footage from the speed cameras that were recently put up around that intersection. One local resident interviewed by the news said that speeding vehicles are common, and the force of the impact does seem to imply that at least one vehicle was speeding.

Because you have to be going incredibly fast to take out a concrete bollard – and that’s what happened. Here’s a still shot from ABC 7’s video:

Crash in Little Village

Bollards like these can be buried anywhere between 6” and 48”. Based on a couple angles in the video, we’d guess these were buried between 12” and 24”, though it’s hard to say exactly. What is pretty noticeable is that the bollard appears to have been ripped out of the ground, not just smashed:

Deadly Crash in Little Village

What are bollards for?

Bollards, which are generally made of concrete or metal, serve as protective barriers. Some are decorative and some are plain, but they have the same goal: keeping vehicles out of a particular space. The bollards in the screenshots above were installed around a parking lot where residents of Lawndale Garden Homes keep their cards, specifically to protect those cars from traffic. You may also find them along sidewalks or in front of stores, where their goal is protect pedestrians (and buildings) from strikes. Sometimes, parking garages have thinner, retractable bollards that come up at night to block entrance to the garage.

As this security company explains, bollards actually provide a few different benefits:

They heighten driver awareness: Street bollards are the perfect height; they are easily visible to drivers but don’t obstruct their sightline. Installing bollards along road boundaries helps drivers perceive space and distance more accurately and effectively prevent accidents. When installed in series, bollards create an illusion of speed, which encourages drivers to slow down, especially in densely packed areas.

Traffic calming: Street bollards effectively manage road behavior, but they’re also typically used as part of a more significant traffic calming strategy. These strategies, along with utilizing bollards, encourage safe and responsible driving in busy areas or near pedestrian paths. For traffic calming, bollards usually get used in addition to things like:

  • Visual indicators such as signs and traffic strips
  • Physical elements, including medians and surface treatments

In short, they not only physically protect buildings and pedestrians – they can actually affect how traffic moves. In some cases, this can make the roadway safer.

In this tragic case, though, we may find the bollards played a role in the collision itself. Still, they do more good than harm in the majority of cases, we believe.

Why collisions at speed can cause rollovers

We’ve talked about how overcorrection can lead to rollover crashes; speed can do the same thing. That’s because rollovers are caused by imbalance. When you’re speeding, your tires can lose traction if you make even the smallest adjustment to the direction or hit something. Once they start to slide, you can roll if you try to overcorrect OR if you hit another object, like a curb or a vehicle. That could be enough to literally tip the car.

One thing to note, too, is that vehicle on its side was an SUV, and SUVs have a higher center of gravity. That makes them more prone to rollovers.

Who’s liable in a fatal car accident like the one in Little Village?

It depends. We don’t know what the drivers were doing at the time of the crash. Generally speaking, though, if one driver acted negligently or recklessly – like speeding or driving drunk – and that negligent or reckless behavior led to the collision, then at driver could be held liable for the fatal car accident. this is because Illinois is a “fault state.” What that means is, the person who is deemed at fault for the crash is the one who has to pay for the losses associated with it.

As such, determining fault is critically important. To do that, our Chicago car accident lawyers look at things like:

  • Impact points on the vehicles, including scratches and paint, to see if that indicates one car hit the other
  • Tire tracks in the road, which can indicate whether a car tried to stop
  • The video footage form that traffic camera, to see if it captured the collision
  • The way the debris scattered on the road and around the cars
  • The police report, especially if it mentions eyewitnesses
  • Any recorded data on a phone or in a vehicle’s black box

Once we know who is at fault, then we can build a case for a client who is injured, or for a family who lost a loved one.

Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of Sunday morning’s crash, and we hope that the folks who were hospitalized with injuries make a full recovery.

Gainsberg Injury and Accident Lawyers represents people throughout Chicagoland. To learn more about our services, please call us or fill out our contact form.