URBANA — A Champaign County judge Thursday convicted a St. Joseph man of a petty traffic offense in connection with the death of a bicyclist last summer.
Judge Ronda Holliman found Shawn H. Allen, 53, guilty of failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident that resulted in the death of Matthew Correll, 18, of Gifford.
Assistant State’s Attorney Lauren McQueen and defense attorney Blake Weaver of Urbana agreed that Holliman should consider the following facts, based on Illinois State Police reports:
About 9:10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, Allen was driving his car west on U.S. 136 just east of County Road 2400E in Gifford when he came up on two bicyclists who were also headed in that direction.
Allen hit the rear wheel of Matthew Correll’s bicycle, causing him to be vaulted 161 feet from the point of impact. He died at the scene.
Allen also sideswiped the bicycle of Mr. Correll’s younger brother, Micah, 16. He was also injured and taken to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. McQueen said he continues to receive therapy for a leg injury and counseling for the accident.
State police said the investigation showed that Matthew Correll was in the center of the westbound lane and his brother was behind him. McQueen said the young men had reflectors on their bicycles but no lights. She said Allen told state police that he did not see them until he was too close to avoid hitting them.
“It’s unfortunately a tragic accident,” McQueen said. “Sometimes an accident is just an accident. It’s terrible for the family.”
McQueen had recommended the minimal $25 fine for Allen, saying that his resources needed to help the Correll family rather than the county. Holliman imposed a $250 fine and gave Allen three months to pay that as well as the other court costs.
Because it was a petty traffic offense, a fine was the only punishment available to the judge.
Matthew Correll was a 2020 graduate of Rantoul Township High School. He was a swimmer and worked as a lifeguard at Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center in Rantoul.
His parents, Brian and Kelly Correll, have filed a civil lawsuit against Allen, which remains unresolved.