CHICAGO — It’s a night that has haunted Mike Donovan’s family for nearly 14 years.
“We gave our hugs, said our ‘I love you’s,’ Nicole told me, ‘I’ll call you when I get home,'” Donovan remembers.
His 23-year-old daughter Nicole left his house to get her four-year-old son Devin ready for bed. But they would never make it.
“He came around the curve in Nicole’s lane doing in excess of 100 miles per hour in his Ferrari. When he hit the kid’s car head-on, my daughter was killed instantly,” Donovan said.
A 27-year-old man with a history of speeding tickets killed Nicole and her little boy in October, 2005, in West Chicago.
Today, Mike Donovan fights to slow drivers down on area roadways. Partnering with Illinois State Police, Governor Pritzker and nearly 200 law enforcement agencies ahead of Wednesday’s 4th Annual Illinois Speed Awareness Day. State police will focus on the dangers of speeding, both through education and enforcement.
Police say speeding is an enormous issue on our roads, where drivers are often seen going 15 to 20 miles over the limit and cause hundreds of fatalities every year.
“We as a society has become desensitized to it unless it affects you or someone you love, then that 30 second story becomes the moment your whole life has changed,” said Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen.
In 2017, officials say speed was a factor in 42 percent of fatalities on Illinois roads. That’s 462 lives lost and 93,517 injured, with a total estimated cost of $8.1 billion spent on crashes just in Illinois.
“We all need to work together to address the consequences, the avoidable consequences that result from driving way to fast and feeling our destination, where we are going, matters more than the safety of all others on the road,” Jogmen said.
The potential to severely injure or kill someone on the roads doubles for every 10 miles over 50 miles per hour, according to experts. So on July 24, law enforcement from all across the area will be stepping up patrols to keep drivers to the safe and posted speed limit.
And for all those out there who ask, “Don’t they have better things to do with their time?”
“The answer to that is no, we have a lot of shifting priorities in policing, things change, but one of our overarching priorities is keeping our residents safe,” Jogmen said.