If a 13-year-old Lockport girl has her way,city officials will be making safety improvements at the intersection of Eighth Street and State in the near future after she witnessed a hit-and-run accident that took the life of a motorcyclist. The girl, whose name has not been released at the request of her mother, witnessed the fatal accident in September 2015 in downtown Lockport when 35-year-old Robert Haag of New Lenox lost control of his bike in an attempt to avoid hitting a car that had cut him off at the intersection. Apparently, the driver slowed down long enough to see the victim in the roadway before leaving the scene of the accident.
The motorcycle rider succumbed to his injuries at Silver Cross Hospital just one day after being the victim of a Lockport hit-and-run accident. At the time of the crash, Hagg fell off the bike and likely struck another car on the right rear side of the vehicle with his body, leaving him witha fatal head trauma injury. Witnesses at the scene described the fleeing vehicle as a light-colored four-door sedan. The driver, described as a “middle-aged man with dark hair,” remains at large after speeding away from the scene of the accident and heading eastbound on Eighth Street.
Improving Pedestrian Safety
The young witness spoke to city aldermen in early October 2015 saying she and a friend had gone downtown in hopes of riding their bicycles along the Illinois & Michigan Canal trail and to take photographs. However, she was traumatized after witnessing the fatal accident. In her grief, she says she began thinking of ways to make the intersection safer for everyone, especially pedestrians.The girl suggested posting street signs to warn motorists to slow down as a way to increase pedestrian safety on the city’s busy streets. She also proposed the idea of placing rapidly flashing rectangular beacons at that location to warn motorists to slow down for crossing pedestrians.
City and State Officials May Make Changes
In response to the girl’s request, City Administrator Ben Benson said that the city has had previous discussions on street and intersection safety with the Illinois Department of Transportation. He indicated that those discussions involving the installation of flashing lights at that location were unsuccessful. However, in the aftermath of the accident and fatality, city officials will be speaking with the DOT again to take a better look at making changes to the intersection that increases safety.
Apparently, city officials have long been aware of the increasing accident rate and speeding problems in the downtown Lockport area.As a result, numerous scheduled IDOT improvement projects in future years have been initiated to alleviate many of the serious safety concerns at the city’s busiest intersections. Lockport city officials want to narrow the roadways at intersections and widen sidewalk corners, especially at State and Eighth Street as a way to force motorists to slow down.
Haag’s grieving family members continue to search for answers about why the accident happened and have told the public that the hit-and-run driver needs to come forward.Lockport law enforcement officials are urging anyone with information about the crash to contact police immediately. The victim left behind his wife and two young children.