An Update on the Bobby Cann Case

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Memorial to Bobby Cann at the crash site. Photo: John Greenfield

While the criminal case against Ryne San Hamel, the motorist who killed cyclist Robert “Bobby” Cann while allegedly drunk and speeding, slowly progresses, attorneys for the victim’s family are getting ready to file a wrongful death lawsuit against San Hamel, said Kate Conway, an attorney with Power Rogers & Smith. The firm is investigating the driver’s whereabouts on that day to see if there is anyone else who should be named in the suit, she said. “We have an investigator who has talked to some witnesses.”

The fatal crash happened on the evening of May 29 near Clybourn and Larrabee. Cann, 26, was riding from work at the nearby Groupon offices when San Hamel, 28, struck him. The motorist was charged with reckless homicide, aggravated DUI, misdemeanor DUI, reckless driving, and failure to stay in the lane.

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Bobby Cann. Photo: Groupon

The most recent hearing for the criminal case on December 20th was very brief, she said. During this status report, the prosecution and defense provided an update to Judge Williams Hook about discovery, the process of sharing information between the two sides. Assistant State’s Attorney Maria Augustus told the judge her office needs more time to test and inspect San Hamel’s car in order to do a recreation of the crash. “After the ASA is done testing the vehicle, the defense will have the opportunity to do testing, which I anticipate they will do,” said Conway.

About 15 Cann supporters were present at the hearing, as was San Hamel’s family, she said. The next status hearing was set for Monday, January 27, at 10 a.m. at the Cook County Courthouse, 26th and California, room 301. The discovery phase will likely continue for several months.

Until recently, the Illinois Department of Transportation had been preventing Chicago from installing protected bike lanes on state-jurisdiction roads. During an October 25 street-naming ceremony at the crash site in Cann’s honor, it was announced that IDOT will work with the Chicago Department of Transportation to build a protected lane on Clybourn. At last month’s Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council meeting, CDOT bikeways project manager Mike Amsden announced that a PBL, possibly protected by a concrete curb, will be installed on the street between Division and North. He expects there will be a public meeting on the project later this winter.

  • ezrhythmatist

    Any idea how many similar cyclist fatalities (in Chicago or otherwise) have prompted memorial street namings and improved cycling infrastructure near the crash site but, obtusely, not extending far beyond it?

  • Division to North is the only stretch of Clybourn for several miles that did not get buffered lanes last summer, likely because CDOT hoped IDOT would lift their ban on protected lanes on state roads, allowing CDOT to install PBLs on this stretch.

  • Sophia Williams

    I can’t believe that a fatal accident must happen before the Government would concern themselves with public safety. I heard that the business where San Hamel works at during the time is also being involved in the case — insinuating that if San Hamel wasn’t obliged to drink, considering he has to drive himself home, could have avoided the sad incident. Then they should sue the Government as well because if they had protected bike lanes installed in the first place then.. you know how it is.

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