How much is a man's life worth? Cook County Circuit court says it's $500

This really bites.

Novotny says he was just trying to get Koilada’s license plate number. And the Powers That Be are evidently backing him up.

  1. Why didn’t he get it when they were all standing around discussing the damage, at the toll plaza?

  2. His trailer hit Koilada’s Honda when he pulled alongside him–how do you get a license plate number from alongside the other car?

  3. You didn’t see the original articles from last September, and the Tribune wants $2.95 to give them to me so I can show you, but Mrs. Novotny was on the cell phone to the 911 dispatcher continuously throughout this whole chase. So, the Powers That Be have the situation under control, Stefani. You’ve reported the crime to 911, let them handle it. So maybe your insurance deductible won’t cover the license plate bracket, so what? If you can afford a stock car hobby, and a Bronco and trailer to pull it, surely you can afford a $20 license plate bracket. So why does Jimbo feel a need to make like Rambo with his bigass SUV and run somebody off the road? Answer–'cause he’s a low-self-esteem asshole who is threatened by virtually everybody in the whole wide world, and I would surmise, is perhaps a bit of a racist. My guess would be that once he and Koilada met face-to-face at the toll plaza, and he saw that his “adversary” was a dark-skinned “foreigner”, he felt safe letting his road rage roll. Anybody wanna bet this wouldn’t have happened if the driver of the Honda had been another WASP guy, or a mom with a baby in a car seat?

Witnesses said Novotny was furious at the toll plaza. After reading the articles, my guess is that Koilada wasn’t “leaving the scene of an accident”–he was just confused and frightened and trying to escape a furious asshole who refused to be pacified by exchanging names and addresses. I’d walk away, too.

And I feel sorry for you, Stefani–being married to a bully can’t be easy.

So Koilada, a 27-year-old Prospect Heights software programmer, breaks his neck and dies 10 days later without coming out of his coma, and Novotny gets a ticket for improper lane usage and pays five hundred bucks.


Not to nitpick in is obviously a tragic situation, Duck, but your title is inaccurate. The fine issued to Novotny is not intended to place a value on the life of the other driver. In fact, it’s probably the maximum fine permitted by statute for a traffic infraction, which is apparently all that Novotny was ticketed for.

Criminal fines are not intended to directly reflect the losses created by the crime. They’re simply one of an array of punishments that can be imposed, like incarceration, probation, or restitution. If you demand that the punishment have a direct relationship to the particular facts of the case-- like the fine reflecting the actual value of the victim’s life-- you come to the conclusion that a person who murders an 80 year old should not be incarcerated as long as a person who murders a 20 year old, because the 20 year old would have lived longer.

The real valuation of the victim’s life comes when his estate sues Novotny civilly for wrongful death. There, the jury will be asked to determine, based on evidence about the victim’s education, earning capacity, and so on, the actual value of his life. It’s certain to be more than $500.

It’s unclear to me why Cook County prosecutors would refuse to go after at least a manslaughter charge in this case. One hopes that the family of the dead driver can at least get some relief by pursuing a civil suit.

Recent, similar cases in Eastern PA that I know of have been prosecuted much more vigorously, AFAIK.

How could he NOT be charged with vehicular manslaughter?

After thinking for a while on my previous post, it may be that a lack of witnesses to the actual accident, and an inability to establish exactly why Koilida took off in the first place, may have caused the prosecuters to shie away from pursuing a more serious charge.

Just speculation on my part, of course.

** PLEASE ** don’t jump my ass for this, I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a second here. Perhaps they didn’t go after Vehicular Manslaughter because it would be impossible to prove that he had FULL and total control over the trailer, and it sounds like the trailer fishtailed, hit the poor man, etc.

If the Prosecutor cannot prove that the driver meant to use the trailer to HIT that man, then it’s going to be regarded as an accident, IMHO.

Now, I think this fucking dickless bullyboy asshole cocksucker should pay. I think his life should be ruined. I think that the punitive damages in civil court should be so huge that it make it hard for him to buy a burger at Arby’s.