Car-Motorcycle Collisions When Motorists Cross The Center Line

An ongoing hazard to motorcyclists has been when oncoming vehicles cross the center line and, by coming into the opposing lane, strike a motorcycle or motorcycles.  These types of crashes, often resulting in a head-on collision, has been seen in a number of recent Illinois motorcycle accidents.  As is often the case in such head-on collisions, accident injuries sustained during such crashes are often life-threatening, and in many cases lead to the death of the motorcyclist and, if applicable, passenger.

There are many reasons that oncoming vehicles may cross the center line, and come into the motorcyclist’s lane.  One reason is distracted driving…i.e. some type of distraction leads the motorist to stray or otherwise come into the opposite lane.  Another prominent reason is when the motorist is impaired (DUI) on alcohol and/or drugs.

On May 6, 2016 a motorcycle collision like that discussed above, in which an oncoming motorist allegedly crossed the center line while intoxicated, occurred.  That motorcycle accident – which led to the later death of the motorcycle passenger (Amy Thornton, 42, of Woodstock) as well as injuries to the motorcyclist (Mike Thornton, 39, of Woodstock) – was initially discussed in the May 6, 2016 post titled “Motorcycle Crash In McHenry, Illinois.”

Subsequent information concerning the crash has been discussed in various media sources, including the July 24, 2016 Chicago Tribune article titled “Suspect in motorcycle death back in McHenry County after missing court date” as well as the July 26 Northwest Herald article titled “Wisconsin woman pleads not guilty in crash that killed Woodstock mom.”

An excerpt from the Chicago Tribune article with regard to the injuries the Thorntons had from the motorcycle accident, as well as the alleged impairment of the driver (Sheree Shaw, 45, of Twin Lakes, WI):

Mike Thornton, 39, was seriously injured in the collision, suffering a broken pelvis and shattered elbow.

Amy Thornton, 42, died nine days later of her injuries. Toxicology tests showed that Shaw had heroin in her system at the time of the crash, according to McHenry County authorities and court documents.

Two excerpts from the Daily Herald article regarding the charges faced by Shaw:

A Wisconsin woman formally denied allegations that she was under the influence of heroin during a McHenry crash that seriously injured a motorcyclist and killed his passenger.


Shaw pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated DUI, Class 2 felonies and two counts of aggravated DUI, Class 4 felonies. If convicted, Shaw faces three to 14 years in prison on the Class 2 felonies and one to 12 years on the Class 4 felonies.

Additional details regarding this crash can be seen in the sources mentioned above.


Should you or someone you care for experience a motorcycle accident injury or fatality in Illinois, please contact the Elman Joseph Law Group for a free consultation to discuss the legal situation and to determine whether a personal injury lawsuit should be filed.  Elman Joseph Law Group, LLC ( is an Illinois personal injury law firm that concentrates in Illinois personal injury and wrongful death cases involving vehicle accidents (car, motorcycle, bike, bus, pedestrian, truck, etc.)

Elman Joseph Law Group’s Lead Attorney, Tony Elman, is a personal injury trial lawyer.  Over the last 25+ years Elman Joseph Law Group has handled over 10,000 Illinois personal injury lawsuits.

During this 25+ year period, Elman Joseph Law Group has built a reputation for its courtroom trial performance, including getting large verdicts for smaller cases.  In fact, because of these court trial accomplishments, many well-known law firms choose to have Elman Joseph Law Group take cases to court.

To speak directly to Tony Elman, Lead Attorney of the Elman Joseph Law Group, call (773) 392-8182 at any time.  This legal consultation is free.

Elman Joseph Law Group works on a “contingency” basis…Elman Joseph Law Group’s clients never pay a fee unless and until they receive monetary compensation.