Rally held for victim in deadly wheelchair collision

Robert Osborne, 78, of Du Quoin was hit by a car while riding his wheelchair March 31.
Robert Osborne, 78, of Du Quoin was hit by a car while riding his wheelchair March 31.

DU QUOIN, IL (KFVS) - In DuQuoin on Saturday, there was a rally and walk in memory of 78-year-old Robert Osborne who died this week from injuries after being hit by an SUV while crossing the street in his wheelchair.

About 30 people came out to honor and show support for Osborne and his family.

The group walked from Keys Park to North Hickory and West Main where Osborne was hit.

The goal was to raise awareness and reminding people to keep an eye out for the disabled, and pedestrians as a whole.

There have been no formal charges yet against the driver.

A police report will likely be the deciding factor as to whether charges will be filed in connection with a collision between an SUV and a man on a motorized wheelchair.

Robert Osborne, 78, of Du Quoin, died on April 6, 2011, almost a week after being struck at a busy Du Quoin intersection.  Jerry Higgerson, Osborne's son-in-law, said Osborne passed away just after 6 p.m.

A clerk at the Perry County State's Attorney's office said on April 7, 2011 that the office was waiting for an official report from the Du Quoin Police Department before deciding whether to file charges.  She did not know when the report may be available.

Du Quoin police identified the driver of the SUV as Carol Smith, 68, also of Du Quoin.  A gas station security camera captured Smith's SUV slamming into Osborne the afternoon of March 31, 2011, as Osborne was crossing Hickory Street.

Osborne had been in critical condition at a St. Louis hospital since then.

Before Du Quoin police released Smith's name, Osborne's daughter, Candy Higgerson, told Heartland News she knew who was behind the wheel of the SUV.

"They haven't called and asked about dad or nothing," Higgerson said.  "And I want to know why she didn't stop."

The incident left Osborne with severe injuries.  "Our dad's eye sockets are fractured, his whole face is fractured," Higgerson said.  "His whole right arm is shattered.  He's got breaks all up his left leg. His spine is fractured and the back of his necks got fractures.

"They said he might not be able to see again. And he probably won't even be able to walk if he makes it."

Higgerson said she bought Osborne the wheelchair several years ago after Osborne stopped driving.

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