Skokie motorcycle accident

Two Dead in Motorcycle Crash with Minivan in McHenry

Motorcycle CrashTwo people are dead following a motorcycle crash with a minivan in northwest suburban McHenry, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

At approximately 7:53 p.m. on April 9, 49-year-old Dennis Edward Spears Jr., of Carpentersville, was operating his 2017 Harley Davidson southbound on River Road, approaching its intersection with Charles Miller Road. Tanya Schafer, 42, was his passenger.


At that time, an unidentified 41-year-old Wonder Lake woman was driving her 2014 Chrysler Town & Country minivan northbound on River Road, approaching the same intersection. The minivan’s driver then failed to yield the right of way and made a sudden left turn, crashing into the motorcycle.

Mr. Spears was taken to McHenry’s Centegra Hospital, where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later. Emergency responders took Ms. Schafer to Condell Hospital in Libertyville, where she was also pronounced dead.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Major Crash Investigation Unit is investigating the motorcycle crash.


Motorcycles leave their riders more vulnerable than other methods of transportation. With no metal frame surrounding the rider, as in cars and trucks, he or she is exposed to direct contact with other vehicles, obstacles, and the road itself, and is therefore much more likely to be seriously injured in a collision. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, motorcycle riders made up 15% of traffic deaths in 2012, despite accounting for less than 1% of the total miles driven. An all-too-common source of motorcycle injuries and deaths are left-turn collisions.

Drivers making left turns on the road have a heightened responsibility to yield the right of way to other vehicles, including motorcycles. Essentially, a driver may only make a left turn when it is safe to do so, and only when there is no oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, far too many drivers misjudge the time they have to make left turns safely, or they are distracted and do not check to see if there are other vehicles coming from the opposite direction, or they are impaired by drugs or alcohol. Consequently, they make sudden left turns when they should not, and serious collisions can happen. When a car or truck makes a reckless left turn in front of a motorcycle, the consequences can be catastrophic.

The rider can have very little time to react, and he or she often crashes into the vehicle head on. Sometimes the rider can even be thrown from the motorcycle, only to land on the asphalt a great distance away from the point of impact. And if the rider somehow successfully evades the vehicle making the left turn, he or she can still lose control of the motorcycle and crash into other obstacles or fall and skid long distances both on and off the roadway.

Even when left-turn motorcycle collisions are not fatal, they can still result in a wide range of severe injuries, including broken or crushed bones, “road rash,” amputation of limbs, fractured skulls, brain damage, third-degree burns, spinal cord damage, and paralysis.


These injuries can be life-changing, with a long recovery process and thousands of dollars or more in medical expenses piling up, all while there is no money coming in because the rider is too injured to work. At times like these, an injured motorcyclist needs an experienced and dedicated attorney to fight for him or her. The motorcycle accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers are an excellent choice because they have decades of experience and success in cases exactly like this.

GWC prosecutes a wide variety of injury cases throughout Illinois, including those involving motorcycle accidents, workers’ compensation, construction accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability. If you or your loved one has been injured, because of a motorcycle accident or by some other means, please contact our office for a free legal consultation to see if you may be eligible for financial compensation for your injuries.