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WPD seeks hit-and-run driver

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

WPD seeks hit-and-run driver

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
August 14, 2009

About 10:00PM last Saturday a girl walking in Route 47 in Woodstock was reportedly hit by a large, white SUV that did not stop. An article in Thursday's Northwest Herald informed readers that the police are looking for a large, white SUV with right-front damage.

First of all, no one wants any pedestrian, child or adult, to be hit by a car. Having said that, look at the situation as it was described.

The girl, 13, and a friend were walking south in the roadway near Route 120 (McHenry Avenue). They were apparently south of McHenry Avenue, where there is no sidewalk. (If they were north of McHenry Avenue, there is a sidewalk.)

It was 10:00PM on a Saturday. That section of roadway is relatively dark without good artificial lighting.

The girl was hit by the right-front of the vehicle.

Why was she walking with traffic (in the direction of traffic), where she could not watch traffic approaching from behind?

Were the two kids walking side-by-side or single-file?

How were they dressed? Dark clothing? Lighter, reflective clothing?

Why weren't they walking on the grass or gravel?

Why hadn't they crossed to the east side of the roadway, where they could walk facing traffic?

Will those two kids be ticketed for pedestrian violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code?

Kids might be introduced to safe walking patterns, but early on they see disregard for pedestrian rules. Example: in front of Dean Street School, teachers, staff, parents and students regularly cross mid-block to the parking lot on the north side of Dean Street, not at the corner. And they do so with impunity. When kids in 1st and 2nd grade begin learning that traffic laws can be ignored, is it any wonder that they ignore them as they get older?

It's hard to believe that the driver didn't know that he had hit one of them. Was s/he intoxicated? Distracted? Scared to stop?

And what if s/he had stopped? Since the kids were walking in the roadway with traffic, would the driver merely have been identified for the police report and sent on his/her way, assuming nothing else was out of order? Of course, you are supposed to operate your vehicle under control, so that you avoid objects, animals and people who suddenly come into view.

The speed limit there changes from 30MPH to 35MPH in a left curve. A driver paying attention should have seen the pedestrians. Did they step more into the traffic lane to miss bushes or low branches?

All over Woodstock kids act like they own the roadway. A couple of weeks ago on southbound Clay one evening, there were 4-5 young teen-age boys walking side-by-side, fully in the traffic lane, strutting their "stuff" with their caps turned sideways "gang-style". Should a motorist have to drive on the wrong side of the road to pass them safely, if they refuse to move out of the lane?

How would the police respond to a driver reporting such a pedestrian violation? Should cops ticket such pedestrian violations? Maybe then they wouldn't have to investigate pedestrian-vehicle accidents.

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