Wife of Cyclist Dragged in Bridgeport Provides an Update on His Condition
Scott Jacobson continues to stoically recover from the horrific injuries he suffered after being struck on his bike and dragged hundreds of feet by a driver, according to Jacobson’s wife Rachel. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the Cook County state’s attorney’s office will level more serious charges against the motorist, who so far has only been charged with misdemeanors.
On Monday, May 2, at around 6 p.m., Scott Jacobson, 47, was riding home after biking with his two sons to wrestling practice at De La Salle Institute. He was near the intersection of 35th Street and Lowe Avenue when SUV driver Joshua Thomas, 26, made a U-turn and struck him, according to police.
Jacobson was dragged hundreds of feet until bystanders ran to stop the vehicle. The cyclist’s pelvis was fractured in three places, including the ball of the upper femur, which fits in the hip socket. He has severe road rash over much of his body, with muscle and bone visible in places.
Rachel Jacobson, Scott’s wife of some 20 years and a CPS teacher, provided an update on his situation over the phone from Stroger Hospital, where he’s being treated in the burn ward for his abrasions. “He’s doing pretty well,” she said. “He’s in good spirits, but he’s in a lot of pain. His dressings need to be changed twice a day, and that hurts.”
Rachel said she’s grateful for contributions to the GoFundMe page that has raised more than $36,000 within a week to help support the family while Scott recovers. Doctors say it will likely be six months before he is able to return to his job as a superintendent for a construction company. Bridgeport community activist Kimberly Cannatello Lazo, who didn’t know the family before the collision but was moved by the story, contacted the family, and launched the crowdfunding page in order to help out, Rachel said.
Rachel told me more about how the crash occured. As Scott was biking west on 35th towards his home in McKinley Park, he saw Thomas weaving in the SUV towards the line of parked cars. “When Scott came up from behind him to pass, [Thomas] did a crazy U-turn and ran into him,” she said. “Scott looked at him, yelled, and slapped the hood but [the driver] kept going and Scott got sucked under.”
After he fell underneath the SUV, the bike became wedged under the back half of the vehicle, and his body became balled up under the oil pan, supporting the weight of the engine. Although he screamed for Thomas to hit the brakes, police say the driver kept his foot on the gas for about a quarter of a block until he was stopped by the firehouse, where bystanders and firefighters lifted the SUV off him.
“Scott said that when [Thomas] got out of the car he showed no remorse,” Rachel said. “It was like he was irritated that something bad had happened to him.”
Surprisingly, Thomas wasn’t charged with leaving the scene of a crash. Instead, he was cited with several misdemeanors: reckless driving, failure to exercise due care for a pedestrian in the roadway, failure to keep in lane, improper U-turn, driving on a revoked license, and uninsured vehicle, according to police. He’s scheduled to appear in traffic court on Tuesday, June 21.
Several local attorneys who specialize in bike cases told me on Friday that they believe Thomas should have been charged with aggravated reckless driving due to the severity of Scott’s injuries and the seeming indifference of Thomas as to whether the cyclist lived or died.
Staff from the state’s attorney’s office met with the couple at the hospital yesterday evening, but Rachel said the family is not yet ready to release additional information. The charges against Thomas may be changed when he appears in court next month, according to Officer Jose Estrada from Police News Affairs.
Rachel is hopeful that Scott will make a full recovery. “He has always been a fighter and strong-willed, and he makes his mind up that things are going to work out,” she said. “And once he’s able to walk again, they probably will.”
This post is made possible by a grant from the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices, P.C., a Chicago, Illinois law firm committed to representing pedestrians and cyclists. The content is Streetsblog Chicago’s own, and Keating Law Offices neither endorses the content nor exercises any editorial control.