Denise Blidy Killed In Burbank Police Car Accident By 77th Street and South Central Avenue
Wrongful Death - September 10, 2022
Denise Blidy Died In Burbank Police Car Accident While Riding Bicycle Near the Intersection of 77th Street and South Central Avenue
BURBANK, ILLINOIS (September 9, 2022) – A bicyclist identified as Denise Blidy died in a Burbank car accident with a police vehicle near 77th Street and South Central Avenue.
Cook County police officials are saying that the accident took place around 10:30 a.m. on Monday. Denise Blidy was riding a bicycle when she was hit by a police vehicle.
It remains unclear if the officer was responding to an emergency at the time of the crash. Paramedics were called to the scene in order to help the bicyclist.
Sadly, she died due to the severity of her injuries. Denise Blidy was a retired nurse and leaves behind a husband of 41 years, two sons, two sisters and a grandchild.
A full investigation into the crash remains ongoing at this time.
Liability In Burbank Police Car Accidents
Thousands of people are killed or seriously injured every year in accidents with emergency vehicles. According to the National Safety Council, more than 180 people were killed in car accidents with authorized emergency drivers in 2020 alone. Police vehicles accounted for the majority of those collisions. There are a number of factors that can make police vehicles especially dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Police officers face a number of distractions including their police computer.
- Police officers are often responding to emergency calls and may need to speed or break other traffic laws.
- Police officers work at all times of the night and day when pedestrians and bicyclists may be less visible.
Depending on the facts of any case, the department that a police officer worked for could be held at fault for a collision. In general, officers have a great deal of immunity from civil suits under the Illinois’ Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act. Immunity will typically apply when an officer is responding to an actual emergency with their lights and sirens on. If a police officer was driving to an emergency and failed to turn on their lights and sirens, this could form the basis of a negligence claim.
Even when an officer is responding to an emergency with their lights and sirens on, they could be liable for an accident caused by their “willful and wanton” conduct. Consider, for example, Supreme Court of Illinois case Wilkins v. Rhonda Williams, Indiv. And, Inc. For example, a police officer may have failed to terminate a pursuit after they have been given instructions to do so by their commanding officer.
If a police officer was not responding to an emergency, they must follow all traffic rules like every other driver. Pursuant to Illinois Vehicle Code 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1, the driver of any vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid any pedestrian or bicyclist in the roadway. They must also give warning about their presence by sounding their horn when necessary. If a police officer fails to slow down to avoid hitting a pedestrian, this could form the basis of a negligence claim. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any accident involving a police officer.
- Photos of the accident site should be taken.
- Medical records should be preserved.
- The police vehicle’s dashcam footage should be examined.
- A thorough, independent investigation should be conducted.
Police departments will often fight extremely hard to deny liability for any accident involving their officers. It is common for them to blame the victim. They may try to argue that the bicyclist or pedestrian who was hit was at least partially at fault. This is why it is so important that evidence is properly preserved after any crash. Evidence is what will ultimately be necessary to determine liability for any crash.
Investigating A Burbank Police Car Accident
We at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates extend our deepest condolences to the family of Denise Blidy. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. It is our sincere hope that the Burbank police department is transparent about what happened. There are so many questions that need to be answered. Was the officer that hit the victim responding to a call? If so, were their lights and sirens on? Was the officer speeding? Was the officer potentially distracted?
Do you need more information about a Burbank police car accident? Our team of bicycle safety advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into an accident we are here for you. You are always welcome to reach out to us anytime at (312) 564-4256.