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Frankfort Teen's Tragic Death Inspires Proposed State Traffic Law

The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Maggie Crotty in memory of Julie Gorczynski, would mandate stiffer penalties for speeders in certain situations, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Proposed legislation that would require tougher penalties for drivers traveling at least 25 mph over the speed limit was passed by the State Senate on Friday, a Chicago Tribune report stated.

READ:

The measure--known as Julie's Law--was sponsored by Sen. Maggie Crotty (D-Oak Forest) in remembrance for Julie Gorczynski, a student .

Gorczynski, 17, of Frankfort, was killed last June after the 1997 Jeep Cherokee she was riding was hit by a 2009 Mazda driven by a 21-year-old man from Lemont. The Mazda was traveling at least 76 mph in a 40-mph zone, the Tribune report stated. Gorczynski would have turned 18 in less than a week.

REMEMBERING:

The legislation would not allow court supervision for drivers ticketed for traveling more than 25 mph over the limit in an urban area, according to the report. The proposed law was passed 46-0 and moves on to the House.

YOUR TURN: What do you think of the proposed law? Does it do enough to curb drivers from traveling at dangerous speeds in residential and urban areas? Is it a good way to remember Gorczynski?

Robert Swale April 01, 2012 at 04:52 AM
The article gives no indication of how serious the penalty would be so it is hard to judge. Given a life was lost due to what most people would regard as grossly negligent conduct, the penalty should be severe. Perhaps a very large fine to be paid to the girl's family say $250,000 plus loss of driving priveledges for 15 years would be just for such a deed.
Sara Waters April 01, 2012 at 06:21 PM
They also failed to mention the amount of deaths/crashes there are each year due to excessive speed. Unfortunately Robert, I think if you ask a police officer, taking away driving priveledges doesn't always stop them from driving. I have friends who are police officers and they say the majority of the people they stop have no license or insurance.
Mr Hank April 01, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Reckless homicide has been on the books for years. This sure looks like the driver of the Mazda was VERY reckless.
Sara Waters April 01, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Yes, but they should have posted what the stats on it are. I think people would shocked to see how high they are.
John Humphrey April 01, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Making a left turn in front of a vehicle who has the right of way irregardless of how fast they are traveling is also very reckless. This was a tragic accident, but even if the other vehicle was traveling on the posted speed limit, I don't think the results would have been any different.
Norm April 02, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Common sense dictates otherwise, John. You believe that a vehicle traveling at almost twice the speed limit wouldn't arrive at the intersection at almost twice the time expected? You don't believe braking ability and distance wouldn't be affected at 76 mph vs. 40 mph?
Sara Waters April 02, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Reckless driving is no accident. It's a crash. Just as driving drunk is a crash, no accident.
Meghan McC April 02, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I'm a friend of Julie's and we all love and miss her so incredibly much. Her family was extremely instrumental in bringing about this legislation and I know they're happy that something's being done to make the streets safer. The article fails to mention that the 21 year old driver was given court supervision SEVEN times due to excessive speeding before he killed Julie, and because of Illinois' laws, is only receiving a misdemeanor for killing her. There was no way to see him coming at 80 mph on a hilly street at night, let alone know he was going double the speed limit. HE is the one being charged, not the other driver, so the comments saying the driver of the Jeep was reckless are ignorant and unnecessary. This law is for Julie and will no doubt help save other people's lives who don't deserve to be taken so soon. If it can pass 46-0 in the state Senate, I am 100% certain the House will pass this and we can have a little more justice for Julie.
Sara Waters April 02, 2012 at 01:21 AM
thank you for sharing this Meghan and I am so sorry for the loss of your dear friend. It is a shame that it takes a tragic event in order to get a law to protect possible victims. Illinois needs to step up on all reckless drivers.
Lauren Traut (Editor) April 02, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Well-said, Meghan. Thank you for sharing.
K.B.C. April 02, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Meghan, again thank you for sharing.You have just put to rest all the rumors that blamed the girls for the accident. Not that I blamed them, but I was told it was their fault for turning in front of the other vehicle. Clearly it was not. Not even the most experienced drivers could know how quickly a vehicle traveling double the posted speed would reach them. I am so sorry for all her friends and family and the great loss they have had to unnecessarily endure because of a young reckless boy. I hope the law punishes him appropriately even though it will never be enough.
Opinion 1 April 02, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Lesson learned for many - never make your own conclusions, never assume anything - right Kathy?!!! - Your key word in your comment is 'rumors'. NEVER BELIEVE THEM! It is terrible that people have to voice their opinions on this tragic accident. I am flabbergasted that the people who posted inaccurate facts and their own opinion not understand what the article was truly about - the proposal of a law which may help another teenager, mother, father, brother, sister, friend, etc. I am ashamed for all who do not think first! Meghan - as hard as it was to post a comment - thank you very much – You are VERY brave.
Roxane DeVos Tyssen April 02, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I think the problem lies not necessarily with the excessive speeding (+25 over; and that does seem to be an issue in some suburbs), the problem lies with the current law. Traveling that fast in a residential area and hitting and killing someone should be considered vehicular homicide. Installing speed bumps in troubled areas might be more beneficial than hoping a police officer will happen to catch the offenders in some communities. I would have to take a look at how the legislation is written that is being proposed to have a full understanding of its intent. Although anyone that received that many citations should have had a suspended license. But, that doesn't stop many drivers out there from continuing to drive. There are thousands of people that drive without licenses and even more without insurance. Both of which are illegal in the state of Illinois.
RRM April 05, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I am a very good friend of the other driver and for all your everyone's information he was not going 76mph. The grand jury itself said the court does not have a valid case against the driver. I have driven down that road many times with him and to be perfectly honest he couldn't even go that fast down that road in his car with all those hills. It is the other drivers fault just as much as his, you can tell if someones speeding so why make a left turn in front of that car. It is commonsense regardless if he was speeding or not. Oh and using that he had prior speeding tickets has no indication as to his driving habits, he had gotten them when he just turned 16 when your immature and think nothing can happen to you, he is not 16 anymore. You talking badly about someone you don't even know makes you a terrible person so shame on all of you. The family just doesn't wanna blame the friend because its easier to blame someone you aren't familiar with or close to.
Bicycle Rider April 08, 2012 at 02:19 PM
It's always someone else's fault, isn't it? Would the legislators consider education? This was a tragic loss. I am not convinced that tough laws save lives. Tough laws hand out tough penalties, but do drivers consider that? Would the Mazda driver pause to know that in addition to killing someone, his action might land him in jail? His friend denies that he may have had issue controlling his speed, but that he was 16. Cars are weapons at speed. This kid is a murderer. tough laws are good, bring them. Find multiple ways to prevent this tragedy. Blaming excessive speed on being 16 is weak sauce.
Arthur Huff April 08, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I believe they say he was going 76 mph because they do all kinds of tests and accident reconstruction to calculate estimated speeds at impact, so for now I am going to believe that he was going that speed. And your defense of your friend's driving habits is that he got seven tickets all when he was 16 years old and we are somehow to believe that because he's a few years older he is a changed driver??? Seven tickets in one year?? That's more than an average TWO people get in an entire lifetime of driving. Yes, it would be nice if the driver of the Jeep didn't turn out in front of your friend who was driving recklessly. But you surely must concede that if your friend wasn't driving at nearly twice the posted speed limit this accident probably would never have happened. Or at least would have been much less severe.
Arthur Huff April 08, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Now, as far writing new laws goes, does anyone think that will work? First, look at the law as it currently exists: (a) A person commits reckless driving if he or she: (1) drives any vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; I'd say he met the criteria for part a. (c) Every person convicted of committing a violation of subsection (a) shall be guilty of aggravated reckless driving if the violation results in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another. Except as provided in subsection (d) of this Section, aggravated reckless driving is a Class 4 felony. And there is part c. Class 4 felony. This law, already on the books, should have applied to him. This is what they charged him with. I don't know how or why he wasn't convicted of this charge. But I do worry when everyone rushes to write a new law because the courts failed to apply the law that already exists and applies.
amanda gorczynski April 11, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Arthur, He is not being charged with the class 4 felony. If you read further where you got the information from you will see that only applies if you are in a construction zone or school zone...... Amanda Gorczynski
Arthur Huff April 11, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Amanda I'm not sure what he actually was charged with. I'm just saying based on the law I cited (which does not only apply to construction zones) he COULD have been charged with a class 4 felony.
Meghan McC April 16, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Maybe you should read the Tribune's story about this case/law and learn that your friend's tickets were given out over a four year span, but good try pulling the "sixteen and immature" excuse. Her family doesn't decide who to blame, the police and courts do and they did plenty of investigations and reenactments to professionally and correctly conclude that he was going AT LEAST 76 mph, so let's not try and use the excuse that her family doesn't want to blame her best friend. Its irrelevant. Here's the link to the tribune's story so you can try to learn your facts before commenting on something you clearly know nothing about. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-15/news/ct-met-supervision-law-20120415_1_driver-in-fatal-collision-supervision-special-probation
jlarue April 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM
On May 9th 2008 my beautiful neice was killed instantly in a car accident. She was making a left hand turn also,the boy that stuck her was going 76 miles an hour in a 35 mile an hour zone!. He struck her so hard his MADZA was inside her car until it rolled out. The accident happened on 135th st in Romeoville. It was proven through the reconstruction of the accident that he indeed was going 76 miles per hour,he was charged with reckless homicide. My family has gone through hell for the past 3 and a half years, trying to bring him to justice.On Jan 18th he was sentenced to 2 months in jail 500 hrs of community service and 2 yrs probation. For taking someones life! He too had numerus speeding tickets left the scene of an accident i could go on and on.My sister will never be the same person she once was my family will never be the same. He took away from us who she could of been she was a beautiful person had so much more to give and he took that away from us with his recklessness!!!! We miss her so much! Im so happy that you are having this law passed so that other familys dont have to go through what we have been through! Its a nightmare! If he would of been going the speed limit and she went to make her turn there would of been an accident not a FATALITY!!!
jlarue April 24, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Im so sorry for your loss and i know what your family is going through. When my sister showed me the article i couldnt believe. My sister would like to talk to your family but doesnt know how to get a hold of you so i thought i would write on the forum and see if i could get a response. I hope to hear from you soon. God Bless you and your family.
Diane September 26, 2012 at 01:40 AM
get real rrm he should have learned to stop freaking speeding long ago.... maybe you should have been in the car when the accident occured...he killed her instantly!!!!!!!!!!! ! not going to happen if he was doing the limit honey. yeah he's not 16 anymore..... just think what they would do to pretty boy in county at 16....... he ruined a perfect family....... he feels no REMORSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAKE UP !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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