Tragic death of Skokie boy sparks village response
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:27AM
In the wake of the recent death of an 8-year-old boy killed by an out-of-control vehicle involved in a car crash, the village is taking multiple actions to address traffic safety.
Carter Vo was out for a bicycle ride May 21 and on the sidewalk near Main Street and St. Louis Avenue when a car making a turn crashed into another vehicle and kept going, eventually striking Vo on the sidewalk and carrying him along until the runaway car struck another parked vehicle.
Mayor George Van Dusen, in a community letter posted on the village’s website, said Skokie has engaged a professional traffic analysis of the entire area around Middleton School, only a few blocks from where the tragedy occurred.
“The village will release that study to the Village Board, the School District (District 73.5) and the public as soon as it has been completed,” Van Dusen said.
The mayor said the village has worked closely over the last couple of years upgrading safety conditions and signs on the streets around Middleton School, “but improvements can still be made.”
He said that no subject is off the table for consideration in the analysis.
Van Dusen also announced he is establishing a 10-member action committee to review the traffic analysis and to create and implement an action plan.
The committee will include the president of the School Board or a designee; the superintendent or a designee; two parents; Village Trustees Randy Roberts (who will chair) and Edie Sue Sutker; the village manager; the chief of police or a designee; and the village’s director of engineering.
Prior to the joint village-school district committee meeting, the superintendent will invite and solicit input from all interested parents and local residents, Van Dusen said.
In consultation with school administrators, Van Dusen said, the village’s traffic engineers will study all schools this summer and make any improvements where appropriate.
“It should be remembered that even with the best traffic controls in place, we will not be safe if drivers disregard these controls,” Van Dusen said. “I will be meeting with our village manager and chief of police to review ways to increase enforcement of our traffic laws so that reckless and careless drivers are held accountable.”
The village has heard from residents who have raised concerns and made suggestions for improvements in the area. Some residents said that speeding in the area has been a long-time issue. Some residents also maintain drivers have a limited view when making turns — in part because of landscaping on Main Street.
Skokie police, however, said that speed had nothing to do with the incident as the driver struck a vehicle as she accelerated to make a turn.
Hanin Goma, 23, of the 5000 block of Wright Terrace, Skokie, was charged with one felony count of aggravated driving under the influence resulting in death and one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of drugs. She also was cited with failure to yield at a stop intersection and failure to provide proof of valid insurance.
Prosecutors at Goma’s bond hearing said she had smoked marijuana and taken amphetamines before the crash.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to (Vo’s) family,” the mayor said. “We hope that all Skokie residents will show their support for Carter and his family and all of our children by rededicating ourselves to traffic safety, particularly when it comes to our driving habits and our concern for other drivers and pedestrians.”
Van Dusen invited those with questions or concerns to call him at (847) 933-8263.