A driver has been arrested and charged in a Batavia hit-and-run accident involving a Geneva police officer who was conducting a traffic stop.
Batavia Hit-and-Run Accident Injures Officer
On the morning of May 5, 2020, just after 5:00 a.m., a 22-year-old officer with the Geneva Police Department initiated an unrelated traffic stop of a speeding motorist in the 1900 block of Kirk Road in Geneva, IL. The vehicle pulled over south of Fabian Parkway inside the city limits of Batavia, IL.
While the officer stood outside of the stopped vehicle’s windows with his squad lights activated, a passing white 2011 Volkswagen minivan clipped his left elbow, causing him to lose his balance and fall to the ground, according to Batavia Deputy Police Chief Shawn Mazza.
At first, the minivan driver slowed down after the incident, but then he reportedly continued to drive south away from the scene of the Batavia hit-and-run accident. The fallen officer was able to reach his police radio to call for help and describe the suspect’s vehicle. Police later found the minivan in a business parking lot at the 700 block of North Kirk Road in Batavia.
The minivan’s driver, 53-year-old Bartolo Martinez-Lopez of West Chicago, was arrested for his alleged role in the Batavia hit-and-run accident. Police charged him with two felonies, including leaving the scene of an accident resulting in personal injury and passing an emergency vehicle causing injury. Martinez-Lopez has also been charged with several misdemeanors, including failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident, leaving the scene of an accident, failing to render aid in an accident, operating an uninsured vehicle, and driving with a suspended license.
The police officer was evaluated for injuries at Geneva’s Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital and later released.
Deputy Police Chief Mazza said that the incident highlights the risks that police officers face on a daily basis.
“You’re trying to pay attention and focus on the traffic stop, but at the same time, you’re also trying to watch what’s going on around you,” he explained. “It’s tough.”
He also urged motorists to follow “Scott’s Law,” which requires Illinois drivers to reduce their speed and switch lanes in order to give first responders on the side of the road more space when their hazard lights are flashing.
Hit-and-Run Accident Victims Face Greater Challenges
As you can see from this Batavia hit-and-run accident, Illinois law imposes serious criminal penalties for drivers who fail to stop at the scene of a collision involving injury. A hit-and-run crash that inflicts injury is classified as a Class 2 Felony, which carries a possible sentence of as much as seven years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.00. If anyone dies in the hit-and-run accident, it becomes a Class 1 Felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.
But even in the face of such significant penalties, incidents like the Batavia hit-and-run accident still happen. Even more troubling is the fact that these types of crashes could be on the rise in the United States. One study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that:
- Eleven percent of all American traffic accidents involve hit-and-run drivers;
- There is more than one hit-and-run accident per minute;
- There have been approximately 682,000 hit-and-run accidents per year since 1986; and
- There were a total of 2,049 domestic hit-and-run fatalities in 2016, which represented a 62 percent increase from 2009, the last year that recorded a downward trend in national hit-and-run deaths.
These statistics become even more disturbing when one takes into account that the victims of these incidents face greater challenges when seeking financial compensation. This is because the offending drivers, by definition, leave the scene of hit-and-run accidents without exchanging insurance information – assuming they have insurance at all.
But even with these challenges, recovery may be possible. An injured person might be able to uncover the hit-and-run driver’s insurance policy and pursue a claim against it if that driver is located. In cases where the driver either cannot be found or lacks adequate insurance coverage, a plaintiff could still seek compensation from an uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) policy.
Burr Ridge Car Accident Lawyers Fighting to Get You Justice
Even though hit-and-run accidents may offer multiple avenues of recovery, a successful outcome might not be guaranteed. To increase your chances of obtaining full and fair compensation, consider retaining the car accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With over $2 billion in verdicts and settlements recovered on behalf of clients, GWC is one of the leading Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. No firm in the state is more respected, or more feared, both inside and outside of the courtroom. Let our dedicated Burr Ridge car accident lawyers help you and your family get the justice you deserve.
If you have been wrongfully injured, contact GWC today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys. You can call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.
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