Editorial: A tragic lesson in maintaining priorities while driving

  • Roberto Orozco, 67, of Hanover Park, was struck and killed by a distracted driver Sunday while working along Golf Road in Mount Prospect, police say.

    Roberto Orozco, 67, of Hanover Park, was struck and killed by a distracted driver Sunday while working along Golf Road in Mount Prospect, police say. Courtesy of the Orozco family

Posted10/31/2019 4:39 PM

Driving is all about priorities.

Is it more important to get to work on time or to get there in one piece? Is it worth it to zoom in front of the guy who just passed you, or are you comfortable ignoring the challenge to your ego? Is it more important to see who has texted you or that other people on the road are safe?


Two tons of metal, plastic, glass and rubber is at your fingertips. Two tons or more for a minivan. That's the starting offensive squad for the Chicago Bears plus a good chunk of the D-line hurtling down the road as one, usually a lot faster.

A casual attitude about driving and poor choices can lead to death -- whether your own, your family's, or of someone you've never met. In the blink of an eye.

An off-duty ride-share driver stands charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI. Authorities say he struck and killed a landscaper working along Golf Road in Mount Prospect on Sunday.

It mattered not in this case that Roberto Orozco, a 67-year-old husband, father and grandfather from Hanover Park, was wearing a neon yellow vest and a bright orange hat as he put out construction cones in front of a big flashing arrow sign on Golf Road near Robert Drive.

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It didn't matter, because the driver of the car, he admitted to police, was attempting to put his cellphone into a holder on the dashboard when it fell to the floor and he bent over to pick it up. He said he looked up just in time to see Orozco before hitting him.

Police on Monday indicated Orozco and another man he was working with (who was injured when struck by the flashing sign) were found 20 feet from the minivan.

There is a reason we mention whether people are fiddling with their phones, driving drunk or wearing seat belts or helmets when we write about car crashes.

There is a reason we mentioned that the crash severed poor Roberto's spine, broke both his legs, lacerated his liver and caused a brain bleed. It's not to add to his family's suffering but to try to shake the cobwebs with readers who treat driving as a casual pursuit with no real consequences.

This is a tragedy not only for Orozco and his friends and family, but also for the driver, who is admittedly distraught over what happened and will have to live with this the rest of his life.

Please, please think about this next time you get behind the wheel. Impress upon your kids or your grandkids the awesome power of a motor vehicle. Get your priorities straight -- for your sake and that of everyone in your path.

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