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Crime & Courts

Pedestrian safety becomes issue for mother

DeKALB – Amy Lantis was terrified when her 20-year-old daughter called her Tuesday evening crying after being struck by a dark red Chevrolet Venture.

Lantis’ pregnant daughter, Katy, was walking in the crosswalk of Lincoln Highway and Seventh Street in DeKalb, when the van’s headlight hit her from the left side between 5 and 6 p.m. Tuesday. Lantis said the driver and passenger, who were both white and appeared to be in their 60s, looked at Katy and continued driving.

“It’s disappointing to me that this was a couple in their 60s,” said Lantis. “I would’ve thought they would’ve come from a generation where no one would do something like that.”

Lantis, a DeKalb resident, hopes her daughter’s case will inspire drivers to be more mindful.

Lantis said Katy suffered a knee injury from where she was hit, though the baby was unharmed. But Lantis said this incident sparked a major concern for the safety of not only her child, but for other pedestrians, as well.

“No matter where you have to go, you cannot be in so big of a hurry that supersedes the value of human life,” she said.

DeKalb Police Commander John Petragallo said the department had 14 cases of cars striking pedestrians in 2012. Not all of those were hit-and-runs. Although such incidents are not very common, he said it’s important to follow the appropriate steps when it does happen.

First and foremost, Petragallo said to seek medical attention if there are injuries. The pedestrian should also try to get as much information about the vehicle as possible.

“If they are somehow struck, they need to get as much detail on the vehicle to police to conduct the investigation,” he said.

Petragallo said if the pedestrian or a witness is able to take a photo of the license plates, that also can be helpful. Overall, he said, pedestrians and drivers need to be aware of what’s going on around them.

Petragallo said leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense, but the extent of the offense depends on the situation. If there’s property damage or injuries, the consequences are more serious.

To prevent an incident like Katy’s from happening in the future, he said, pedestrians should be careful at all times while walking.

“I would recommend just being defensive when crossing the street,” he said. “Be aware of your surroundings.”

Can you help?

If you have any information about Tuesday’s hit-and-run, call DeKalb police at 815-748-8400.

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