Kelly Morsch, 23, of Hinckley, was pronounced dead at the scene after a grisly crash in late October that injured two others, according to the Chicago Tribune. Morsch was piloting a 2012 Ford Focus that for unknown reasons drifted over the center line on Route 38 and hit a westbound 2007 BMW SUV head-on. The Kane County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Lt. Patrick Gengler told the Tribune that, “he does not know how fast the Ford Focus was travelling but that the speed limit in that area is 55 m.p.h.” Both the driver of the BMW and his passenger were taken to area hospitals, with injures that were not considered to be life threatening. “Both the man and his wife were wearing seatbelts,” Gengler told the Tribune, “but it is not known if Morsch was.”
Drifting over the center line, such as Morsch did, are considered a type of crash known as a roadway departure crash. According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Safety Program, “the main cause of roadway departure crashes is driver drowsiness and inattention, which are sometimes compounded by driving too fast.” Alcohol and drugs can also contribute to both of these factors. In an effort to curb the number of roadway departure crashes, the U.S. Department of Transportation has installed rumble strips on a number of highways across the country. “The noise and vibration produced by rumble strips alert drivers when they leave the traveled way,” reports the FHWA.
No tickets had been issued as of the beginning of November as a result of Morsch’s crash. It’s not as if the incident was a rare occurrence—according to a different report from the FHWA, “nearly 20 percent of roadway departure fatal crashes involve an opposing direction collision,” like the one for which Morsch was responsible. Three-quarters of these “occur on undivided two-lane roads,” such as Route 38.