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Drivers who flee are negligent in Illinois accident cases

Running or driving away from the scene of an accident doesn't avoid problems. It creates more for the defendant, police investigators and auto accident victims. Fleeing an accident scene is against the law. So why do Illinois drivers do it?

If you have ever been involved in car accident, you understand the shock that can accompany the experience. Fear comes from different sources. Fear of being seriously injured or harming someone else is common. There is also the fear of accountability.

Drivers who leave injured accident victims behind make a choice. They decide that their concerns outweigh any "duty of care" to other people. At that moment, the fleeing driver becomes negligent and liable for damages.

An accident in a bordering state involved a packed church van and a lone driver who attempted to escape on foot.

The 51-year-old van driver died at the crash site. All 17 passengers were hospitalized; 11 suffered injuries. Among them was a victim with critical injuries and a young girl listed in serious but not life-threatening condition.

Investigators said the van was struck by a car that failed to stop at a traffic signal. The 26-year-old driver of the car tried to flee on foot but was captured by police not far from the collision. The man was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and for leaving the scene.

Prosecutors, judges and juries understand that most drivers who flee a crash have a reason to evade law enforcement. A driver may be unlicensed, violating parole or probation or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They mistakenly believe that getting away erases the responsibility for what they've done.

A missing defendant cannot be charged, brought to trial or punished. A victim must name a defendant in a liability case to prove negligence and collect compensation. Fortunately, law enforcers are better at finding escaped drivers than fleeing motorists are at staying hidden.

Source:  indystar.com, "Church van driver who died in hit-and-run identified; arrest made in crash" No author given, Nov. 04, 2013

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