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Family of hit-and-run victim Rajendrakumar Shah files lawsuit against driver in Chicago

Shah, visiting from India, was killed in 2013.

By Raif Karerat

WASHINGTON, DC: The family of an Indian man who was killed in a hit-and-run incident in the United States has filed a lawsuit against the 23-year-old driver who allegedly fled the scene after the crash.

Rajendrakumar Shah was visiting the U.S. to attend a wedding and see his family. On June 6, 2013 — his 61st birthday — Shah was stuck by a Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by Michael T. Epley while crossing a street in Tinley Park near Chicago, according to the local medical examiner’s office.

He died less than an hour after being hit, and the autopsy determined his death to be an accident.

Epley was duly charged with aggravated driving under the influence of drugs and failure to stop after having an accident involving personal injury or death, according to Tinley Park police. He was also arraigned on various traffic offenses.

Nimisha Shah, who has been appointed administrator of Rajendrakumar Shah’s estate, filed the wrongful death lawsuit on March 19 against Epley as well as the woman who owns the truck.

The lawsuit alleges Epley failed to keep a proper lookout for a pedestrian; operated his vehicle at an excessive rate of speed; failed to sound his horn before the crash; and, among other things, failed to render aid to the injured party, according to CBS Chicago.

Hit-and-run crashes have been steadily increasing in many major cities with crash-related fatalities following the upward trend. According to 2013 USA Today report, nearly half of all collisions in the city involved a driver who fled the scene.

“The problem is bigger than I think most people are aware,” Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, told the newspaper.

Los Angeles has been ground-zero for hit-and-run incidents — in 2009, L.A. Weekly disclosed 48 percent of the city’s crashes were hit-and-run, compared with 11 percent nationally.

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