On an afternoon in November last year, a 33-year-old Illinois man was cycling on the shoulder of a Carbondale roadway when he was knocked down by a vehicle. Witnesses reported seeing the driver swerving across the traffic lanes before the vehicle struck the cyclist. Police were alerted about the bicycle accident, and officers arrived to find the man unconscious on the ground.
It was reported at the time that the victim's heart failed, but he was revived before he was rushed to a hospital. There it was determined that he had suffered a broken back and neck, rib fractures and severe head trauma. He was then airlifted to another hospital but succumbed to his injuries the following morning.
Officers at the scene had reason to suspect the driver was drunk and determined that his blood alcohol level was .207 percent. The driver apparently admitted to drinking the previous night, and again that morning. A subsequent breath test at the police station showed a BAC level of .174. The driver admitted to driving under the influence and stated that he was also busy texting when he struck the cyclist. He pleaded guilty to DUI at a recent court hearing and is now awaiting sentencing.
Illinois residents who have lost a loved one in a bicycle accident that was caused by a drunk or otherwise negligent driver may pursue a wrongful death claim for reimbursement of end-of-life costs and other documented financial losses. In this case, the driver admitted to being intoxicated at the accident scene. His criminal conviction will likely benefit the case of the family members if they choose to pursue a wrongful death claim for monetary damages in a civil court.
Source: thesouthern.com, "Updated: Carbondale man pleads guilty in death of bicyclist", Dustin Duncan, Aug. 18, 2015