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Man will face criminal charges after distracted driving crash

An Illinois man is now facing criminal charges after an accident on Interstate 57 that left a 10-year-old girl dead.

While no alcohol or drugs were apparently involved with this case, police and prosecutors decided to file criminal charges against the man for reckless homicide and other charges because they discovered evidence of texting and driving prior to the accident.

The victim was a backseat passenger in her grandmother's vehicle and had slowed down for a traffic jam on the Interstate. The man slammed his Jeep in to the back of the car, pushing the car in to the large truck in front of it. The girl died at the scene of the crash, and her older sister and grandmother were also hurt in the accident.

While police initially only cited the man with traffic violations, including a violation of Illinois' ban on texting and driving, prosecutors later reviewed the case and decided to add criminal charges. This decision came on the heels of a police accident reconstruction expert issuing his final report on the accident, which apparently suggested the man's conduct was more serious than a momentary lapse in judgment. The investigation took about six months to complete, as the accident happened last summer.

In addition to facing criminal penalties, the man may also face a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit from the victims or the victims' families, as the case may be. Through legal action, the victims may be able to recover their costs and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages like emotional distress or pain and suffering. Punitive damages may be a possibility in this case as well.

Source: The News-Gazette, "Mattoon man charged with reckless homicide in fatal I-57 crash," Mary Schenk, Jan. 17, 2018.

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