Fallen Courier Blaine Klingenberg’s Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit
[This article was produced in partnership with the Chicago Reader.]
Yesterday afternoon a wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of the father of fallen bike courier Blaine Klingenberg, who was fatally struck by the driver of a double-decker tour bus at Michigan and Oak during the evening rush on June 15. The suit names bus driver Charla Henry and her employer Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Company.
According to friends of Klingenberg, he was on his way to meet up with colleagues at Oak Street Beach after work when the collision occurred. He was bicycling north on Michigan through the intersection when he was struck and dragged by Henry, who was driving westbound. Klingenberg was rushed to Northwestern hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.
The Chicago Police Department crash report clearly laid the blame on Klingenberg, stating, “The victim disregarded the light at Oak and turned into the bus, causing the collision.” Henry has not been issued traffic citations or charged with a crime. However, two witnesses told me they were convinced the bus driver was at least partly responsible for the messenger’s death because she also entered the intersection after her light turned red.
The lawsuit was filed in the Cook County circuit court by the bike-focused personal injury firm FK Law (a Streetsblog Chicago sponsor). Klingenberg’s father Walter Klingenberg is named as the plaintiff. The document states that Henry was guilty of one or more of the following acts and/or omissions:
- Disobeyed a solid-red traffic signal
- “Failed to exercise the degree of care and caution tht a reasonable person under similar circumstances would have exercised in the operation of the [double decker] bus”
- “Failed to keep an adequate lookout”
- “Drove the… bus at a speed at a speed that was greater than was reasonable given the traffic conditions and the use of the highway”
- Failed to avoid hitting a bicyclist
- “Was otherwise careless or negligent in the operation of the … bus”
The suit argues that, in addition to being fatally injured, Klingenberg “suffered great pain and anguish, both in mind and body prior to his death.”
It also states that Walter Klingenberg, as well as Blaine’s mother Beverly Klein, brother Corey Klingenberg, and sister Kendal Klingenberg have suffered the loss of the deceased man’s “company and society.”