Two separate incidents of reckless driving which resulted in fatalities, one involving a Chicago police officer and one involving a Posen firefighter, appeared in recent news. The most recent headlines focused on 25-year-old Zachary Orel and his fatal crash into the Enbridge pipeline in the early hours of March 3. The accident killed Orel, a Posen firefighter, along with another young man and injured three others. The crash caused a rupture in the pipeline, resulting in a fire and the spill of an unknown amount of gas. The victims were racing one another and driving at high speeds at the time of the crash, according to investigators.
Other headlines focused on Officer Richard Bolling, who was sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of killing a 13-year-old boy in a hit-and-run DUI which occurred in 2009. The investigation into the boy’s death sparked quite a bit of controversy about how the Chicago police handle looking into and building cases against one of their own. As a part of his sentence, Bolling will also be required to talk to police recruits and high school students about his experience and the investigation into his crime after he is released.
Both stories illustrate lives lost to the Chicago community. Both stories highlight the damage reckless driving causes, and how widespread the issue really is. Recent studies found that Illinois had 927 traffic fatalities in one year. Over 400 of those involved alcohol. Almost 300 involved high speeds. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the average lifetime cost of one fatality is nearly $1 million.
Anyone who chooses to drive while intoxicated, ignore posted speed limits or otherwise violate the rules of the road is a reckless driver, regardless of the work that person does or the reputation they enjoy. But it is especially disturbing to see those who are trusted to be guardians of public safety involved in the very behavior that endangers it—and losing their lives and careers as a consequence.
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard is a leading Illinois car accident law firm with offices in Chicago and Waukegan. The firm’s vehicle accident attorneys focus on car and truck accidents, as well as medical malpractice, airplane and train accidents, construction injuries, birth injuries, brain injuries, unsafe properties and animal attacks. The firm has obtained more than $900 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our injury clients. Our record includes 192 cases with verdicts or settlements of $1 million or more.
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