Tragedy struck Chicagoland last night when two Corvettes racing down Cicero Ave caused a crash that damaged a nearby car and fatally injured a pedestrian. The pedestrian was Shawman Meireis, who was in town visiting her family for her birthday.
According to ABC News 7, the drivers – one in a red Corvette, one in a blue – were racing one another, changing lanes and trying to beat each other off the line at a red light. The driver of the red vehicle “changed lanes to overtake the blue Corvette and struck a Hyundai headed in the other direction and turning left at 65th Street, according to one witness. The red Corvette continued into a crosswalk and hit Meireis, police said.” The driver claimed he was escaping a “carjacking,” but witnesses to the accident said the driver was “revving” his engine at the red light, while he was next to the blue Corvette.
Police Supt. David Brown told ABC News that the accident did not appear to have anything to do with the street racing that’s been occurring all week around Chicago, but the investigation is ongoing.
We have our doubts. It all seems a little too coincidental to us.
What’s a “street takeover”?
Street takeovers are like pop-up shops, except instead of selling food or products, they attract illegal street racers. They’re usually promoted on social media. KTLA News explains:
Takeovers typically involve “flash mobs” of hundreds of spectators and several cars that arrive in a coordinated manner at specific intersections, or even interstates, and blocking traffic to speed and show off dangerous stunts like drifting.
As vehicles turn and screech through intersections, spinning dangerously close to cheering crowds, the stunts are often filmed by onlookers and posted on social media — which police say generates even more interest in the illegal activity.
Per the Chicago Sun-Times, the phenomenon has been ongoing all week, with drifters (as in street racers, not the outdate term for the unhoused) from 14 different states all converging on Chicago at once. Street racing (or drag racing, or drifting, or any of the other names that are used) is illegal in Chicago.
Why street racing is so dangerous for Chicago drivers and pedestrians
Let’s start here: in 2021, there were 4,883 accidents in Chicago where speeding was the primary contributor. That doesn’t mean they were the only speeding collisions; after all, a hit-and-run at high speeds can be fatal, but it won’t be classified as a speeding accident.
Speeding in and of itself is dangerous, but street racing is especially so, for a few different reasons:
- Street racers aren’t going “only a few miles over the speed limit;” they’re demolishing it on purpose. You simply cannot control a car with as much accuracy when you’re traveling 100pmh or faster. You can’t brake in time, either, to avoid a last-minute collision.
- Race cars are typically customized by their drivers, which means they may have heavy back ends (for longer drifts) or be incredibly light weight (for more control and speed). The customization of the car may increase its chances of doing severe damage to buildings, cars, or people if the car crashes, or increase the risk of the car itself breaking apart in the event of a collision. Understand that no matter how heavy a vehicle is, flying bits of metal and plastic always pose a danger, and bad weather can increase the likelihood of a driver losing control and crashing.
- There are spectators at these races, which means an automatic increased risk of people getting hurt in the event of a wreck or a spin out. The only potential silver lining to spectators is that they tend to take videos of the race, and those videos can be used in a civil claim.
- In a takeover, you’re dealing with tourists: they don’t know the roads, which may lead them to exit the “route” and crash into someone on another street. They may be more likely to hit curbs or potholes, too – a risk for them and us.
Street racers are more likely to rollover and/or smash into other objects, and generally cause destruction wherever they go. They literally put everyone in danger.
What types of injuries are caused in high-speed collisions?
In the most tragic cases, a high-speed collision will lead to fatal injuries. But even if you or your passengers survive, there is every chance that you may sustain a life-altering injury. This could include:
- Traumatic amputation/limb loss
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal trauma and spinal cord damage
- Crushing injuries
- Multiple broken bones
- Organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Burn injuries (thermal and friction)
We cannot stress enough just how dangerous any speeding is. What happened to Ms. Meireis is a travesty because hers was an entirely preventable death, caused by some show-offs who are more impressed with their own cars than they are concerned with the safety of others. The narcissism of street racers is beyond comparison.
We have no idea how long this supposed takeover is going to last. But we are begging you – please, steer clear of these peacocking fools. People are literally dying; we don’t want your family to be the next one grieving.
Gainsberg Law is a Chicago-based personal injury law firm serving clients throughout Illinois. If you were injured or your loved one was killed by a speeding driver, please let us help you. Call our Chicago car accident attorneys at 312-600-9585 or fill out our contact form. Your consultation is free.
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