More charges possible after Rte. 53 accident victim's death

Updated 9/9/2011 12:21 AM

Prosecutors say more charges are possible against a Buffalo Grove woman after the death of a man she's accused of hitting while checking her cellphone.

Kelly Luch did not appear in Skokie traffic court Thursday on tickets related to the Aug. 1 crash on the northbound shoulder of Route 53 near Kirchoff Road in Rolling Meadows.

Luch's car struck Marcin Niepsuj, 39, of Hawthorn Woods, as he was changing his tire, authorities said. He died last week of his injuries.

Police have charged Kelly Luch with improper lane usage, improper passing on the shoulder and using an electronic device while driving.

According to the Illinois State Police report, the 23-year-old Luch "self-admitted that she was scrolling through her cellphone contact list" at the time of the accident, which pinned Niepsuj, 39, between her car and the center median.

Cook County prosecutors told Judge Lauren Gottainer-Edidin Thursday that the investigation continues and could result in additional or upgraded charges against Luch. The traffic violations she currently faces are punishable by fines of up to $1,000 or supervision.

Thomas K. Prindable, the Niepsuj family's attorney, said the case might evolve into a test of "the legal interpretation as to the legislative intent in (establishing) the anti-texting law."

As it stands, no precedent exists for cases where a driver's texting may have contributed to a person's death, Prindable said.

Marcin Niepsuj's funeral was Wednesday, Prindable said. Niepsuj's wife, Elezabeta Niepsuj, was in court Thursday accompanied by several family members, including the couple's daughters, an eighth grader and a high school senior.

"It was important to her to witness what she believes will be justice ultimately served," Prindable said.

The family has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Luch seeking at least $50,000 in damages, said Prindable.

A hearing on the case is Oct. 13.