11-Year-Old Dies in Traffic Accident

A chain reaction crash proved deadly Wednesday night as an 11-year-old boy died from injuries sustained in the traffic accident.

The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday while a line of cars were stopped because of an accident on Route 64 near Virgil Township.

According to the police report, Benjamin Black, 28, was driving his Ford Expedition westbound when he came upon the line of stalled cars.  Black was unable to stop in time, and his Expedition crashed into the back of a Chevy Cavalier.  The Cavalier was pushed into a Bucik Luceme, which was knocked off the road.  The Cavalier then continued forward and hit the back of a Hyundai.

All three people in the Cavalier were taken to Kishwaukee Hospital for treatment.  Among those in the car was 11-year-old Matthew Ranken, who died as a result of his injuries.  The other two individuals were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Officials said poor road conditions played a factor in the crash.  Authorities noted that the roads were covered by blistering snow drifts at the time of the incident.

Black was cited with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.  Both citations carry a maximum fine of $1,000.

Attorney Sean Sullivan comments

What’s most tragic about this accident is that a young child lost his life, especially since it sounds as if the accident could have been avoided.

The driver was cited with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. No doubt the weather played a factor in this accident, but a driver has an obligation to take the weather into consideration.

With all the electronic devices available to drivers these days, distracted driving is becoming an all too frequent phenomena.  Illinois law expressly prohibits texting while driving (see 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2).   If the investigation clearly shows the driver was at fault because he was distracted or doing something else negligent, then this young child’s family should hold him responsible.  A lawsuit will not bring the child back, but it may help bring awareness to unsafe driving.

Related source:  Chicago Tribune

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