APRIL 17, 2017
A Batavia man who died after crashing a motorcycle Saturday afternoon was fleeing a traffic stop and driving on a revoked license, police said Monday.
An officer driving a marked Batavia police car saw the motorcycle traveling about 80 miles per hour southbound on Kirk Road, where the posted speed limit is 45 mph, police said in a news release. The officer activated the squad’s emergency lights and attempted to stop the motorcycle moments later, at about 5:25 p.m. at Kirk Road and Wind Energy Pass, police said.
While it first appeared the motorcycle, a black 2014 Honda RC, was slowing down to stop, it took off again at a high rate of speed, westbound on Wind Energy Pass, said Batavia Police Det. Sgt. Shawn Mazza.
“The officer was also slowing down behind the motorcycle, assuming it was going to obey its emergency lighting and come to a stop,” Mazza said.
But the motorcycle didn’t actually stop, and as the officer saw the motorcycle go through a stop sign at Wagner Road, he followed it, Mazza said.
A couple hundred feet later, after a slight curve in the road, the officer came upon the crash, Mazza said.
The motorcycle struck the rear driver’s side of an SUV backing into a private driveway on the 1200 block of Wind Energy Pass, a little more than a block west of Kirk Road, police said.
Both the driver and passenger were ejected from the motorcycle, while the driver of the SUV, a Chevy, was uninjured, police said.
The motorcycle driver, Joseph G. Graves, 31, of the 300 block of South Jackson Street, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The Kane County Coroner’s office determined Grave’s preliminary cause of death was “multiple injuries due to a motor vehicle mishap” after performing an autopsy Monday at the county morgue, according to a news release from the coroner’s office. Toxicology samples were also collected and sent to a forensic lab, according to the coroner’s office, which is cooperating with law enforcement in their ongoing investigation into what happened.
The passenger, a woman who police have not identified, was airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove and remains there in critical condition, according to the news release. Both had helmets on, Mazza said.
Reports aren’t yet completed and the speeds the officer reached aren’t known, nor is the speed the motorcycle reached while driving away from the officer, Mazza said.
“We don’t think the officer’s speed was ever an issue,” Mazza said. “We are talking about a block from where he tried to initiate a stop from to where the crash occurred. Obviously a motorcycle is significantly quicker with acceleration than a squad car is.”
No other witnesses are known and police have not been able to talk with the passenger, Mazza said. It’s not yet known whether alcohol or drugs were a factor or why the motorcyclist fled, Mazza said. Mazza said he was not aware of any warrants out for the arrest of either the driver or passenger.
Graves did not appear to have a motorcycle license classification and his driver’s license is revoked, Mazza said. The motorcycle belonged to a friend of Graves’ and police were not yet sure if he had been using it with permission, although to their knowledge it had not been reported stolen, Mazza said.
The Kane County Sheriff’s Office and county accident reconstruction team are investigating the crash because of the Batavia officer’s involvement, police said.
In their initial news release about the crash, Batavia police announced the passenger had also died, but they later corrected to say the passenger was still alive, in critical condition.
“My understanding is there was a mix-up un communication and I’m not sure where that happened,” Mazza said. “But somewhere along the lines between the hospital, the fire department and police department there was a mix-up.”