Mount Prospect officials support chief's report on fatal bike crash
Mount Prospect officials said they did not want or require prior approval of a police statement released Friday regarding a crash in a controversial crosswalk that killed a bicyclist in June.
"We rely on our professional staff to operate within their legal authority and within applicable law to conduct their investigations," Mayor Arlene Juracek said. "In this case, such was done in conjunction with the state's attorney, grand jury, the medical examiner's office and required cooperation from the driver's insurance company. Our staff carefully considered all this input in drafting its report."
The statement issued by Police Chief Tim Janowick included upgraded traffic violations against the woman who struck 55-year-old Joni Beaudry, who later died from her injuries, but it also puts some of the blame on the dead woman -- a finding that outraged Beaudry's husband.
In the statement, Janowick wrote: "The investigation also indicated Ms. Beaudry's actions to be a contributing factor to the collision. State traffic law requires pedestrians to enter the roadway only when safe to do so and not to enter a roadway when another vehicle is so close as to constitute a danger."
Beaudry's husband, Eric Jakubowski, said his wife did everything she was supposed to do to safely cross the road.
"They consider that an investigation? I am so mad," he said. "It is a pure act of incompetence on their part. And insensitive, then, to suggest, if you will, that my wife somehow is to blame for her own death. I will never forgive them for that."
The crash occurred at a crosswalk along Central Road that allows pedestrians to access Melas Park, near Busse Road. The crosswalk features signs that flash to warn drivers that pedestrians are trying to cross.
Village Trustee John Matuszak said he doesn't disagree with investigators' findings, but he understands the emotional nature of their conclusions.
"I don't know that the report blames the victim as much as the circumstances," he said.
In the wake of Beaudry's death, a number of hearings have been held to determine how to make the crossing safer. Matuszak suggested it be closed until changes are made. Others don't want the crosswalk closed but do want better warnings and reduced speeds.
The woman who struck Beaudry, 56-year-old Hanna Burzynska of Elk Grove Village, has been cited for failing to stop for a pedestrian and failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash. She was also cited for failing to wear required eyeglasses and improper passing of a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk. Burzynska's next court date is Oct. 14.
• Daily Herald staff writer Steve Zalusky contributed to this report.