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Will County Forest Preserve & Silver Cross Hospital Sued Over Bicyclist's Death

A lawsuit was filed against the Will County Forest Preserve and Silver Cross Hospital alleging negligence led to the death of a 68-year-old man.

James Lorenc didn't get far in October's Cruise the Creek bicycle ride before he fell and suffered fatal head injuries, and now the event organizer and a sponsor face a lawsuit blaming them for his death.

Kathleen Lorenc, the special administrator of James Lorenc's estate, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Will County court.

The suit alleges the Forest Preserve District of Will County, the agency that organized the event, and Silver Cross Hospital, a sponsor, are responsible for James Lornenc's fatal bicycle mishap.

James Lorenc, 68, had just started the 17-mile course when he descended a hill, "went to slow down and hit the brakes too hard," Forest Preserve Police Lt. Tracy Phillips said in the wake of the Oct. 5 accident.

"The back wheel fishtailed and he flipped over the handle bars," said Phillips, who noted that James Lorenc was not wearing a helmet.

James Lorenc was taken to Silver Cross where he was pronounced dead less than six hours after his fall.

Phillips also said that, in preparation for the annual event, temporary signs were posted to alert riders of steep hills along the trail loops and "Forest Preserve sentinels were stationed throughout to warn riders of potentially dangerous spots on the trail."

Nearly 1,900 cyclists rode in that particular Cruise the Creek.

Kathleen Lorenc's lawsuit claims "too many participants" were allowed to ride in the event and that steps were not taken to "make the course safe from leaves and water puddles, and other debris on the bicycle path."

Event workers were not properly trained and "as a result a staff member created a dangerous condition by telling participants to stop at the bottom of the hill," the suit also said.

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Peg Paul December 03, 2013 at 12:34 PM
This story is a sad reminder as to why people need to wear helmets when they ride their bikes.
DJK December 03, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Let me see if I have this right. Signs were posted warning of steep hills. The guy hits the brakes too hard, goes over the bars and suffers a head injury because he's not wearing a helmet. His estate is now suing because there were puddles and leaves and a bunch of other issues that they claimed made the path unsafe? Ya gotta love it !!!
Bob Laird December 04, 2013 at 08:01 AM
where was Kathleen when a 68 year old man was getting on the bike with no lid? Should he have even been in the run?

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