A pregnant mother and her three sons were killed in a T-bone collision by a driver allegedly disregarding a stop sign in unincorporated Washington Township.
The incident occurred on the morning of July 24, 2017, at approximately 8:30 a.m. Lindsey Schmidt, 29, of Beecher, Illinois, was driving her 2014 Subaru Outback northbound on Yates Avenue, proceeding through its intersection with Corning Road, with her eighteen-month-old son Kaleb, her four-year-old son Weston, and her six-year-old son Owen as passengers. The street was not guarded by a stop sign at that intersection. At that time, a 2002 Chevy S-10 pickup truck was heading eastbound on Corning Road, approaching Yates Avenue, an intersection that was guarded by a stop sign. According to authorities, the driver of the pickup truck, a 25-year-old Manteno man, disregarded the stop sign and proceeded into the intersection, violently striking Ms. Schmidt’s vehicle on the driver’s side in a T-bone collision. The impact was so great that Ms. Schmidt’s vehicle was forced off of the roadway.
Peotone and Beecher Fire Departments were already at the site of the crash when police were called at 8:38 a.m. Ms. Schmidt and Kaleb were pronounced dead at the scene at 10:35 a.m.
Ms. Schmidt’s two other sons were taken to St. Margaret Hospital in neighboring Indiana, then airlifted to Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Weston, who had been on life support, died the following day at 5:55 p.m. Owen was placed in a medically induced coma. He was pronounced dead on July 27 at 2:39 a.m. The pickup driver was taken first to Franciscan St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights and then to Oak Lawn’s Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he underwent minor reconstructive surgery for a large laceration to his arm.
The Will County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the collision. Charges have not yet been filed. A final cause of death is pending an autopsy and toxicology reports.
Disregarding Stop Signs: Statistics
According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), one-third of all intersection crashes in America, and more than 40 percent of all fatal ones, occur at intersections with stop signs controlling them, amounting to approximately 700,000 collisions at stop signs per year.
Seventy percent of these stop sign crashes, at both one- and two-way stop sign intersections, involve a vehicle that either does not stop when it is required to do so, or stops but still fails to yield, and proceeds into the intersection, where it collides at an angle with another vehicle passing through.
Two-thirds of these stop sign violation crashes involve drivers who claimed to have stopped before proceeding through the intersection. Seventeen percent of these crashes involved drivers running through the stop signs entirely.
Responsibility to Look for Other Vehicles
Drivers have a responsibility at stop signs not only to stop but also to look for other vehicles in order to judge whether it is safe before proceeding through an intersection. According to the IIHS study, 44 percent of drivers involved in stop sign violation crashes reported not seeing the other drivers, while only six percent reported seeing the other vehicle but still being unable to avoid a crash with it. Sixteen percent of drivers reported that their view was obstructed, be it by the shape or design of a roadway, parked vehicles, shrubbery, or even glare.
The T-bone Collision: Heightened Dangers
T-bone collisions, in which the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another, are among the most deadly of crashes, with an estimated 8,500 to 10,000 American deaths per year. Even at speeds of a little more than eighteen miles per hour, T-bone collisions can cause serious injury to the occupants of the struck vehicle.
A T-bone collision is typically more deadly than head-on or rear-end crashes because, in a T-bone collision, the only thing separating the occupant of the struck vehicle from the oncoming vehicle is glass and a thin door, not the reinforcement or framing offered in the front or rear of a vehicle. For this reason, T-bone crashes often result in extreme injuries and are frequently fatal.
If you have been injured, by a T-bone collision or in some other way, please contact GWC Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys to see if you may be eligible for financial compensation. Call (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.