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Still Waiting on Charges in Nail Painting Wreck

By Marcus Gilmer in News on May 5, 2009 8:20PM

Zaffke family photo via WGN video
For those of us waiting to see if charges will be filed in the wreck that killed motorcyclist Anita Zaffke this weekend, we might be waiting a while. The driver of the car that slammed into Zaffke - who was stopping at a yellow light - was distracted because she was painting her nails. Today, the Tribune takes an interesting look at the development of laws (and lack thereof) in the state of Illinois pertaining to accidents caused by such "distractions."

The wreck Saturday raises questions that have been fiercely debated in Illinois about whether a momentary distraction amounts to criminal behavior, comparable to drunken driving. In the crash that killed motorcyclist Anita Zaffke, 56, of Lake Zurich, Lora L. Hunt, 48, of Morris was ticketed by the Lake County sheriff's police with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Prosecutors say it may be a month before they decide whether to bring additional charges.

"We are looking into charges in the case," Assistant State's Atty. Patricia Fix said. "But we are waiting for results of blood and urine tests and waiting for the results of an accident reconstruction, as well as any other technical evidence we can derive from the scene."

The Trib also talks to State Rep. William Black (Danville) about a proposed law of his that, if passed, would require prison time, a $25,000 fine, and a one-year revocation of a drivers license for distracted drivers who cause deaths.