Driver who killed “School of Rock” drummer Kevin Clark refused DUI blood test


After a driver fatally struck “School of Rock” drummer Kevin Clark, 32, on his bike last week on Logan and Western avenues in Logan Square, many local bike advocates noted that the intersection complex, located on a popular cycle path between the northwest side neighborhood, Lakeview and Lincoln Park, is inherently dangerous. In 2008, a motorist struck and killed Tyler Fabeck, 22, on his bicycle at the same intersection. Although the Active Transportation Alliance released recommendations for intersection safety improvements in 2018, such as new bike lanes and crosswalks, transportation departments in Chicago and Illinois have not. taken no action.

However, I have seen several comments online claiming that Clark is largely responsible for his own death in the collision, which occurred on Wednesday, May 26, at around 1:30 a.m. According to the Chicago Police Department, the driver, his passengers, and another witness told officers who responded that the motorist, who was driving south on Western, had a green light when she collided with the cyclist, who was pedaling east on Logan.

Some media outlets have underlined this fact. For example, the second sentence of a Chicago Tribune report stated, “Clark died after running a red light and being hit by a traffic light. [driver] as he crossed a street.

Logan and Western, looking east.  Image: Google Maps
Logan and Western, looking east. Image: Google Maps

A Facebook commentator said: “This young man went through a red light, which makes a dangerous intersection even more dangerous. It’s one of my terrors as a car driver.

In fact, it’s relatively rare for people on bicycles to mindlessly bombard red lights at busy intersections without considering cross-traffic. A much more common scenario, which may well have been what Clark was doing when he was hit, is the “Idaho stop,” where a person riding a bike comes to a complete stop at a red, looks both ways, and then cross the intersection. . This common bicycle movement is already legal in a few states.

Less attention has been paid to whether the driver’s actions may have contributed to the crash. While the CPD said she had received citations, this afternoon, a week after the incident, a police spokesperson told me that he still had not received information about the offenses for which the motorist had been convicted.

However, Streetsblog Chicago obtained the crash report, which, along with other public documents, indicates that the driver’s behavior may have played at least as important a role in the tragedy as that of the cyclist.

I choose not to publish the driver’s name because she hasn’t been charged with a felony, but she’s a 20-year-old woman, and a LinkedIn page says she’s a student at a local university. According to the accident report, there were three other people in the car with her, a 19-year-old man, a 20-year-old woman and another woman whose age is not stated, who bears the same name of family as the driver.

Schematic of the crash report.
Schematic of the crash report.

A fifth person is listed on the accident report as an independent witness who confirmed the driver’s story that “she got the green light … when [Clark] violated the red light… and headed east on Logan Boulevard to the middle of the intersection just in front of her vehicle, causing her to hit Clark. This person, a man, is also 20 years old.

The accident report indicates that the driver received three citations. These are not yet in the Cook County Clerk’s system, but the report states that the motorist, who was driving at 1:30 a.m. with other young people, “was then taken to Illinois Masonic. [Hospital] where it was read [a] warning … and refused [a] blood test. This raises the question of whether the motorist was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident and was concerned about being tested positive. His refusal to submit to test accounts for the first of the citations and, per Illinois law, resulted in an automatic license.

A code at the top of the crash report indicates that the driver was “going too fast for the conditions”, which explains the second quote.

The accident report also states that the driver was uninsured, which explains the third quote.

A search of public records revealed that in April of this year, the driver was fined for executing a stop sign in the western suburbs of River Forest. and not have insurance. So even though she had already been ticketed the month before the fatal accident for no insurance, she never went to insure and was driving uninsured. again when she fatally struck Clark. Obviously, we are not talking about a responsible motorist here.

The accident report indicates that the collision was captured by a police surveillance camera. Streetsblog Chicago has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the images.

Clark’s family retained the services of bicycle and pedestrian law firm FK Law (a sponsor of Streetsblog Chicago). [fame], but it seems that there were several factors that contributed to causing this tragedy, ”said lawyer Brendan Kevenides. “We are vigorously investigating each of them. “

Clark with
Clark with “School of Rock” star Jack Black. Photo via Kevin’s Coda
The Clark family recently launched a website called Kevin’s Coda (a coda is a passage from a composition that ends a song) dedicated to “ensuring that the vibrant and moving energy that Kevin Clark brought to the world continues to resonate. throughout our community by supporting charities for music education and bike safety advocacy.

“Although his life was tragically cut short, his joyful spirit will reverberate for generations to come through our continued efforts to do good on his behalf,” the site says. The family is asking for donations in Clark’s honor to SocialWorks, a non-profit organization founded by Chance the Rapper that encourages youth participation in music, art, education and community activism.

They are also asking people to get involved or donate to the Active Transportation Alliance “if you want Chicago to be a safer place for cyclists”.

You can sign up on the Kevin’s Coda website to receive email updates on efforts to honor his legacy.

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