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Where is "unincorporated" Woodstock?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois
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Where is "unincorporated" Woodstock?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
May 31, 2009


This morning's Northwest Herald reported on a Friday afternoon car-motorcycle match-up that, of course, ended unfavorably for the motorcyclist on Route 176 west of Dean Street.

Two things got my attention. First, the accident was described as occurring in "unincorporated" Woodstock. What's that? Any area in Woodstock is in incorporated Woodstock. If it's not in incorporated Woodstock, it's not in Woodstock. But it must have been in unincorporated McHenry County, which is why the McHenry County Sheriff's Department responded and is handling the investigation.

Woodstock P.D. must have "assisted", even though the accident was outside the City Limits.

The motorcyclist was reported as being westbound on Route 176 and "trying" to pass multiple westbound vehicles. OK, so we've all seen bikers like that. The article went on to explain that the motorcyclist then struck an eastbound minivan "whose driver was making a legal left-hand turn into a private driveway." This information apparently came from a McHenry County Sheriff's Department press release; there is no press release on the Woodstock PD website, and WPD would not have had primary responsibility for reporting on this accident.

Notice the use of the word "legal" with the left-hand turn being made by the driver of the minivan. While the left turn might have been legal (meaning not prohibited by sign at that location), was it being made in a legal manner?

The article leaves a lot to the imagination. Was there a line of traffic westbound? Did the minivan's driver turn in front of oncoming vehicles? Was the motorcyclist passing vehicles when he hit the minivan turning left in front of him? Did he hit the eastbound minivan while it was stopped waiting to make its left turn? Was he at the front of the westbound line of traffic after passing some vehicles? Was he speeding? Had he passed other westbound vehicles in a no-passing zone? Were the other westbound vehicles traveling at the speed limit?

Maybe I am interested in answers to these questions, because I ride a motorcycle. Maybe because I know drivers turn in front of motorcycles. Maybe because I know there are dangerous motorcyclists on the road who do stupid things and pay a big price for them. Maybe because I think there might be a whole lot more to this accident.

Comments

Bill Crittenden said...
"Unincorporated Woodstock" probably means a location that is accurately unincorporated McHenry County but is close to Woodstock, at least close enough to have a Woodstock address (after all, even folks who live in unincorporated McHenry County have their mail addressed to a local post office and not McHenry County). It's more descriptive than "unincorporated McHenry County," which could mean just about anywhere rural in the entire county, yet uses fewer words (important to a newspaper, at least in print form) than "unincorporated McHenry County near Woodstock," the more accurate description.
May 31, 2009 6:00 PM

Gus said...
Thanks for your comment, Bill. I agree with you. I thought Route 176 and McCue Road was well outside the City Limits but, in looking at the Land Use Map online, it is looking like Woodstock is a whole lot bigger geographically than I thought. Can't really tell where the City Limits are. I'll stop by Community Development tomorrow and ask for help understanding the map and current City Limits.
Wouldn't it be nice to see a City Limit sign where the city limit really is?
May 31, 2009 7:00 PM



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