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Did first driver cause crash?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Did first driver cause crash?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
May 10, 2011


This morning's Northwest Herald reports on Saturday night's crash on Curran Road in McHenry, when a southbound driver stopped for an approaching northbound police car using emergency equipment. This often-improper driving action is dangerous and contributes to many near-misses. Saturday night's crash wasn't a near-miss.

There are times when you must stop for approaching emergency vehicles. The State law does not require you to stop, unless necessary to allow the emergency vehicle to pass safely. If it is not necessary to stop in order to allow the emergency vehicle to pass safely, then why do so many drivers do it? Including that ignorant and dangerous Pace Bus driver in McHenry recently?

This law applies whether the emergency vehicle is approachng you from behind or from the front.

Will McHenry Police be ticketing 18-year-old Adam Harris, if he did stop when not required? In other words, if the northbound police car had a clear lane with no other traffic in it as it approached Harris, then Harris did not need to stop. Why did he?

Because drivers misunderstand the law. Because, perhaps, the law is not taught correctly in some driver's education classes.

You can read the law for yourself at 625 ILCS 5/11-907(1).

Harris' stopping, unless sudden and without warning, doesn't excuse 20-year-old Ethan Okayama for his bad manners in running into Harris' vehicle, which was then pushed into a utility pole and knocked out power for a few hours. But maybe Harris should have gotten a ticket, too.

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