WAUKEGAN, Ill. – Ambulances and other emergency vehicles will be required to take additional steps before crossing red-light intersections under a law championed by state Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, following the death of a Waukegan man struck and killed by an ambulance last year.
“We can all understand why an ambulance transporting a patient to the hospital can’t be expected to wait at red lights, but the safety of pedestrians and other motorists has to be accounted for despite that,” Mayfield said. “That’s why we’re stepping up training and tightening the rules around how ambulances and other emergency vehicles run red lights.”
On May 16, 2022, Donald “DJ” Stallworth III, 23, was riding his motorcycle when he was struck and killed by an ambulance which ran a red light while transporting a patient. The ambulance had activated its emergency lights, but not its sirens, leading to Stallworth being unaware of its approach until it was too late for either he or the driver to avoid a collision.
The ambulance driver immediately stopped and rendered aid to Stallworth, but was unable to save him. The patient reportedly arrived at the hospital in a different ambulance without having sustained further injury.
Senate Bill 1251, the Donald “DJ” Stallworth, III Act, which Mayfield led through the House of Representatives, requires all emergency vehicles to activate both lights and siren, as well as slow down to ensure it is safe, before running a red light. It also requires additional and better documented training for those who operate emergency vehicles.
The law passed the Senate unanimously and received only a single ‘no’ vote in the House before being signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Aug. 4. It goes into effect on Jan.1, 2024.
“DJ Stallworth was taken from his family, friends and community far too soon,” Mayfield said. “We can’t bring him back but, in his honor, we can make both our emergency workers and the public safer as well as prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again. DJ’s legacy will be a safer Illinois.”