Family of Motorcycle Crash Victim Files Wrongful Death Claim

According to Week 25 News, the family of a woman who died in a motorcycle accident is filing a wrongful death claim in connection with the crash.

Fifty-nine-year-old Cheryl Zeglen was riding her motorcycle with friends and her husband in Bureau County, Illinois, when the group encountered a lot of grass clippings in the road. The debris on the road caused her husband, Thomas Zeglen, to lose control of his bike and suddenly slow down. When he dropped down in speed, his wife, Cheryl, crashed right into him. She was rushed to an area hospital but died from her injuries two days later.

After Cheryl Zeglen’s death, her husband and friends and family gathered together at a local Harley-Davidson dealership, remembering her as someone who enjoyed jokes, was devoted to her family and was dedicated to raising money for St. Jude. Zeglen was a regular rider in the annual “St. Jude Peoria to Memphis Ride” fundraising event, which raised just over $920,000 for the children’s hospital last year alone.

Now, in the aftermath of her tragic death, Zeglen’s family and friends are also trying to get people to understand just how dangerous grass on the road can be for bikes, as this case illustrated. Stann Weibler, who also took part in the same St. Jude event, said that there is not a lot of difference between grass on the road for a motorcyclist in the summer and a sheet of ice on the road for a motor vehicle operator in the winter.

Her husband is taking the matter even further, saying that something more than a $50 fine for dropping grass clippings on the road needs to be done. He reached out to Mike Unes, a State Representative, to see if there can be stronger penalties for leaving grass clippings on the road. The proposed legislation, now being called “Cheryl’s Law,” would greatly increase the current penalties for leaving lawn clippings on the road under the Litter Control Act if the clippings resulted in death or serious injury to anyone on or operating a motorcycle on an Illinois roadway. According to the family’s attorney, the Zeglens will continue to push for this proposal to become law in Cheryl’s honor and to prevent something like this from happening to another motorcyclist.

The Zeglen family recently filed a wrongful death claim against Jay Pankey, the person who was mowing his grass clippings into the road where Cheryl Zeglen had her accident. Pankey was initially ticketed for mowing his grass right into the road, and he was also found guilty in a bench trial–a trial with a judge deciding instead of a jury–of violating the state’s Litter Control Act.

The simple negligence of pushing grass clippings into the road instead of cleaning them up properly ended up taking someone’s life. If you have lost a person you cared about because someone else did something improper or failed to take necessary precautions, you can discuss what happened with a wrongful death lawyer in Denver, CO today.

Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and wrongful death.