On October 11, 2011, Joyce Thomas was taking her small dog for a walk as she had done many times before. While crossing Pershing Road (also known as 39th Street) in her motorized wheelchair within a marked crosswalk near 300 W. Pershing Road, Ms. Thomas was struck by a commercial cement truck driven by one of the employees of VCNA Prairie Illinois who commonly does business as Prairie Material. Mrs. Thomas suffered severe injuries which she unfortunately ultimately died of on October 11, 2011.
The family of the deceased woman filed suit against the driver of the truck and his employers, VCNA Prairie Illinois who does business as Prairie Material. The lawsuit seeks to hold the driver and VCNA Prairie Illinois (Prairie Material) responsible for the severe injuries the woman sustained which resulted in her death. The theory of recovery is negligence resulting in damages pursuant to the Wrongful Death and Survival Act statutes. The complaint alleges that the defendants were negligent in failing to yield the right of way; failing to keep a proper lookout; failing to brake his motor vehicle in time; failing to be sufficiently qualified and trained to operate a truck; failing to stop at a traffic control device before proceeding; and failing to reduce speed to avoid a collision.
Throughout the Chicagoland area, cars routinely fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians in the crosswalk despite the pedestrians having the right of way by law. The City of Chicago continues to work to improve pedestrian safety through its crosswalk enforcement initiatives. Despite these efforts, motor vehicles failing to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks continues to be a problem as evidenced by over 1,000 citations being issued to drivers in Chicago in 2010 for failure to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
The family of the decedent hopes that in filing suit and holding the defendants accountable for their negligence, it will prevent a tragedy such as this from happening to another family. The family also hopes that this tragic accident will bring more awareness to pedestrian safety in the Chicago area.
This accident was entirely preventable as the decedent, a disabled adult in a motorized wheelchair, had the right of way as she was in the crosswalk, yet the defendants failed to yield to her causing this family and community to lose their loved one in an avoidable collision. Illinois law permits the families of those killed as a result of negligence or reckless conduct to hold those responsible for civil money damages.
The civil justice system allows litigants to hold those responsible for negligent behavior accountable for the losses of life or limb that their negligence causes. This system of justice provides closure for victims who otherwise might seek revenge or shoulder the burden and responsibility for the negligence of those who caused the harm. The negligent party and not the victim should bear the responsibility for their negligence.
The plaintiff is represented by Larry R. Rogers, Jr. of Power Rogers