No tickets in fatal truck-bicycle collision

No tickets in fatal truck-bicycle collision

UPDATED  7:05 p.m. Wednesday

CHAMPAIGN — Police say there is no reason to ticket the driver of the truck involved in a crash that killed a Champaign man on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, an autopsy on the man, who was riding a bicycle when he was hit and killed Tuesday night, showed he died of blunt-force trauma.

Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said Michael J. Costa III, 58, of Champaign, was pronounced dead at 6:59 p.m. Tuesday in the emergency room at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

According to Northrup, it appeared that Mr. Costa was struck by a large truck as he was riding a bicycle at the intersection of Market Street and Anthony Drive in Champaign.

“The driver of the vehicle may not have seen him,” Northrup said. “It was dark.”

Champaign police spokeswoman Rene Dunn said police were called to the area at 6:14 p.m. Tuesday.

The driver of the 2005 Peterbilt 330 truck, identified as Thomas J. Pelmore, 63, who listed an address in Champaign, said he had finished turning north onto Market Street from Anthony Drive. When Pelmore looked in his rearview mirror, he said, he saw several cars had stopped at the intersection.

“At that time, he immediately called 911 because he thought that an accident may have occurred,” Dunn said.

When police arrived, they found Mr. Costa semi-responsive. Pelmore was not injured, according to Dunn.

Dunn said an accident reconstructionist from the Champaign Police Department examined the scene and inspected the truck for signs of damage.

Dunn said police were unable to determine what direction the bicycle had been traveling and were unable to find any witnesses at the scene of the crash.

She said there were no signs of damage on the truck that would indicate fault by Pelmore, but Mr. Costa told police that he had been hit by a “big truck.”

“Officers at the scene did report that the victim’s bicycle was smashed and heavily damaged on the front end,” Dunn said on Wednesday evening.

According to Dunn, police have concluded that contact was made between the truck and the bicycle, but police are unable to determine a level of fault on either side.

"No evidence has been found to support issuing a citation to the driver," Dunn said.

People with information about the crash are asked to call Champaign police at 351-4545.

Northrup said an inquest may be held at a later date.

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Nickemry wrote on December 01, 2011 at 10:12 am

It's sad because this tragedy could have been prevented with better lighting.  Hopefully, this will be a priority for the city of Champaign in the near future.

tigersy2k3 wrote on December 01, 2011 at 12:12 pm

It is no doubt a tragedy, but hardly a fault of the lighting. At the time of this accident it would have been dark out for well over an hour, it is the responsibility of the bicycle operator to be seen, whether that is having a light on the bike or helment, or reflective clothing and tape on the bike.  A bicycle operating on the road is no different then an automobile. If you were to see a car driving at night without lights on and get hit, I hardly doubt you would point towards the city and saying poor lighting is at fault.  Anthony & Market is for the most part outside the city (except for the mall), which most the malls traffic comes from Neil, so excess lighting out there would be a wasteful expense to the city.