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[November 16, 2012]
Driver guilty in accident that left teen severely disabled
Nov 16, 2012 (Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A Darien man accused of running over a Downers Grove teen in February was convicted Thursday of a minor traffic citation, fined and sentenced to community service.
Timothy J. Hagan was found guilty of failure to yield to a pedestrian on a sidewalk, stemming from a Feb. 26 crash in which his truck hit 14-year-old Hunter Himes, whowas riding his bike. Hagan was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $1,500 fine after a brief bench trial at the Downers Grove Field Court before Associate Judge Robert E. Douglas.
"This was a horrible tragedy that has affected two families' lives," Douglas said after sentencing. "I know there's no penalty that's stiff enough or that will bring Hunter back. I'm giving everything I can give in this case, and I hope you can appreciate that that's all I can do." Hunter's parents, Mark and Terra Ihde, sat in the front row, wearing orange clothes and orange ribbons in honor of their son's favorite color.
"I didn't do this on purpose," Hagan told the judge. "I didn't wish this to happen. I pray for him every day. My church prays for him every day." Hunter was biking home on the sidewalk of Lemont Road in Darien in February when he approached the 'T' intersection with Beller Drive, according to police reports. Hagan, who was taking his two young sons out to dinner, was attempting to make a right turn onto Lemont from Beller, the report stated.
Hagan told police he felt a bump on his car while stopped, accelerated and realized that he had run over something. When he got out of his car, he saw Hunter underneath the vehicle and called 911, the report said.
Hagan repeated his account of the crash in court Thursday but said he never put his foot on the gas. Rather, he testified that he let his foot off of the brake and crawled forward several inches to pull into traffic.Hagan's attorney, Jeffrey MacKay, argued that the damage caused to the truck was consistent with Himes striking the vehicle, rather than vice versa.
Hunter sustained a traumatic brain injury. A family friend started an online petition to Gov. Pat Quinn in October, urging a tougher penalty for striking a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Terra Ihde said her son's medical condition has declined in past weeks and he is now in hospice care.
"He's not going to survive the accident," Terra Ihde told the judge before sentencing. "I think that the statute is wrong. My son's life is worth something." Hunter's parents asked Douglas to levy the strictest sentence the law allows.
"He has not contacted our family, he has not taken accountability for what he did," Mark Ihde added. "In my opinion, he has made a mockery and further desecrated my son by coming in here and falsely testifying that my son somehow magically appeared under his car." email@example.com Twitter @rhodes_dawn ___ (c)2012 the Chicago Tribune Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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