A Chinese man visiting Rockford, Illinois, on a business trip died in a car accident while walking to his hotel at approximately 9:20 p.m. The 27-year-old visitor was rushed to a nearby hospital, but efforts to preserve his life were unavailing. He was pronounced dead a little over two hours after the accident. The incident was classified as a hit-and-run, as the driver of the car that hit him on East State Street drove off rather than stopping to render assistance and report the accident.
A 36-year-old male coworker who was walking with the decedent was also hit by the car and is currently in critical condition. The vehicle was described as a GMC Jimmy SUV. Witnesses also said that it was dark-colored and appeared to be a late ‘90s to early 2000s model. Two other coworkers walking back to the hotel with the victims escaped injury.
An investigation of the accident scene continued overnight, requiring westbound traffic to be closed off on East State Street for a time. Police have not yet said whether they believe that the accident involved speeding, intoxication, drug use, fatigue or distracted driving from texting and cellphone use behind the wheel. All of these are common causes of many Illinois car accidents.
This year to date, there have been a total of seven hit-and-run accidents in Rockford resulting in a death. Additionally, a total of eight pedestrians have died in car accidents this year in Winnebago County, a high number as only 10 died in this manner in the county from 2009 through 2012. Criminal penalties are particularly appropriate for hit-and-run drivers, who callously zoom off leaving their victims lying on the concrete without assistance. Just as important, however, are wrongful death and person injury lawsuits to make such motorists pay for the carnage they have caused.
Rockford Register-Star, "Visiting worker killed, colleague injured in Rockford hit-and-run" Jeff Kolkey, Dec. 17, 2013