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Skokie woman accused of boy's death pleads not guilty

A parent's pain after the loss of a child is immeasurable. The intensity of the suffering can increase when a child's serious injury or death is the needless result of a stranger's distracted, drugged or drunk driving.

A 9-year-old boy was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in Skokie. The pedestrian accident did not take place while the child was riding in the street. The boy was pedaling along a sidewalk on Main Street when a car, spinning from an earlier crash, struck the child.

The boy and his bike were propelled across the intersection and into a parked car, where the child died.

The woman in the out-of-control car had been in a crash with a van at the Saint Louis Avenue intersection. She had just left work at a nearby restaurant. Police said toxicology tests revealed the 23-year-old driver's system contained amphetamines and marijuana at the time of the fatal accident.

The woman entered a plea of not guilty to a felony charge of aggravated DUI resulting in death and a misdemeanor charge for drug-related DUI. A Cook County judge dismissed the defendant's request for lower bond.

The boy's father attended the hearing to represent his son, who had been a second grader at Madison Elementary School. The father told reporters he and his wife tried to deal with their son's death by working. The coping strategy doesn't always work. The man still forgets sometimes that his boy is not waiting for him when he comes home.

No lawsuit can restore a family broken by the loss of a child due to the negligence or wrongdoing of an impaired driver. Courts help to bring closure by prosecuting and punishing defendants found guilty of crimes, including egregious offenses for the disregard of other human lives.

Civil legal actions offer victims' families a measure of financial comfort. Wrongful death lawsuits help surviving parents, children or spouses to recover expenses related to the deaths of their loved ones.

Source: chicagotribune.com, "Not guilty plea in crash that killed 9-year-old Skokie boy," Brian L. Cox, July 9, 2012

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