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Unlicensed teen gets license days after pedestrian crash

A 15-year-old metropolitan Chicago driver with a learner's permit was alone when the truck he was driving caused a pedestrian accident. Last fall, a 13-year-old girl was struck in the car crash as she walked single-file across a narrow bridge with two friends in Grundy County.

The truck's side mirror struck the girl's head and broke every bone in the teen's face. The mirror slashed so deeply that the teen's skull was visible, a sight the victim's mother witnessed before paramedics could address the girl's injuries. The severity of the wounds might have led to a fatal car accident, but the teen survived.

The unlicensed, teenage truck driver apparently did not stop to help the girl or her distraught friends. A witness to the horrific, night time accident in Minooka followed the truck and urged the driver to return to the crash scene.

Three days after the severely-injured girl was admitted to Children's Hospital, the teen accused of causing the accident obtained a driver's license. Officials at the state driver's license facility did not realize and were not required to ask at the time about any accidents the unlicensed teen had.

The Illinois Secretary of State is pushing for changes that require drivers' license facilities to quiz permit holders about traffic violations before issuing a license.

The legislation is still pending more than a year after the crash. Meanwhile, the accused teen remains a licensed driver.

State law requires a licensed driver to accompany drivers operating a vehicle with a learner's permit. The teen's mother is being held responsible for breaking that law.

The injury victim is recovering. Reports did not mention how far the girl's medical condition progressed or how her family has adapted emotionally and financially to the enormous change since the accident.

A personal injury lawsuit filed on behalf of the minor victim can compensate the family for economic losses associated with recovery and supply funds for the girl's future medical needs.

Source: nbcchicago.com, "Loophole Lets Teen Get License After Crash Puts Girl in ICU," Lisa Parker, Oct. 30, 2012

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