Early Sunday morning, a 59-year-old man was hit by a pickup truck and left injured in the street. The victim was taken to a local hospital but succumbed to his injuries, which were critical.
According to ABC 7 News, police have video of the pickup truck leaving the scene; it was captured on city cameras. They are looking for a “two-toned pickup truck, possibly a Ford, that had Mexican flags on the front hood and the back tailgate. The truck likely has damage to its front passenger side, including a missing grill and light.”
The damage to the truck is important: not only could it help police identify the suspect, thereby actually getting justice for a hit-and-run victim’s family, but it also proves that the vehicle hit the victim with significant enough force to damage the car. A broken light is one thing; the casing on lights is not particularly strong. A missing grill is quite another.
Our hearts go out to the family, whose lives have been irreparably harmed by the reckless and cowardly behavior of the driver. But if we are honest? We are angry, too. Angry that these hit-and-runs keep happening. Angry that hit-and-run drivers keep destroying families, and often without any real penalty. Angry at the lack of basic human dignity and compassion that hit-and-run drivers have for their own neighbors. It’s not right, it’s not fair, it’s not just, and it’s not stopping, and THAT is what angers us the most.
If you have information about the hit-and-run, please call the Aurora police at 303.739.6000 or Crime Stoppers at 630.892.1000.
Are things getting worse in terms of car accidents?
Yes, they are. The number of accidents decreased during lockdown, but experts agree that the number of fatalities rose. That’s true in Chicago and in every other major city across the country. It’s true in Illinois as a whole, and in every other state.
In the beginning of the pandemic, there were rumors of police just waving speeding and reckless drivers by; everyone heard a story about someone’s cousin’s brother’s neighbor’s Uber driver saying it was true. We don’t have any proof of those scenarios. What we do have proof of was the increased speeds at which drivers were traveling, which contributed to a lot (if not most) of those fatal accidents.
Speeding makes it harder to control a vehicle. A bump in the road at 20mph may cause the car to bounce; a bump at 80 mph can cause the car to skid, roll over, or fishtail. When a car cuts you off while you’re driving 40mph, you can probably jam the brakes and avoid a collision. When you’re doing even 50mph, that might not be possible. It’s even less likely that a car could avoid a collision with a person as opposed to another car; people just aren’t that fast.
We don’t know if the driver who killed the Aurora man was speeding. We don’t know if he or she was drunk, or distracted, or simply didn’t see the man. We don’t have any of that information. The only thing we know is that another fatal hit-and-run has occurred, and another family is mourning, and our hearts break for them. We hope that they get the justice and closure they deserve.
Hit-and-runs are never victimless crimes
Though we highlight hit-and-runs where people are hurt and families are devastated, we know that most of the time, these crashes don’t cause people harm. There were almost 2000 fatal hit-and-runs in the country in 2019, but hundreds of thousands of claims are filed every year for no-fault accidents, and who knows how many people choose not to file a claim because they don’t want their insurance premiums to rise. (The last estimate done by the AAA Foundation in 2015 said there were more than 737,000 hit-and-runs that year, and we know the number of crashes is rising.)
Just because someone doesn’t get hurt, though, doesn’t mean a hit-and-run is a “victimless” crime. Car owners still must deal with the mechanic and the insurance company. They still lose days at work, which means they lose wages. And while these consequences are not the same in scope or loss as those of fatal hit-and-runs, they’re still not right, not fair, and not just.
Neal S. Gainsberg has spent the last 20 years fighting to protect the rights of the injured in Chicago and throughout Illinois. From consumer rights and bankruptcy to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, Mr. Gainsberg stands up to large corporations, insurance companies, creditors and hospital administrators to ensure that his clients’ futures are safe and secure. Learn More