Family seeks justice after driver cited, not charged following deadly Wheaton hit-and-run crash

31-year-old Paige Donahue was killed just months before her wedding in January 2023.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Family seeks charges after driver cited in deadly suburban hit-and-run
Paige Donahue was killed in a Wheaton, Illinois hit-and-run crash in January 2023, just months before her wedding.

WHEATON, Ill. (WLS) -- Paige Donahue was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Wheaton in January 2023, just months before her wedding.

Over one year later, the driver accused in the crash has been cited, but not charged.

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A Good Samarian who tried to save Donahue's life was honored on Monday as her loved ones called on the state's attorney to reconsider filing charges.

The family expressed their gratitude for Heather Weitekamp, who brought light to their darkest hour.

Weitekamp received Wheaton's Good Citizen Award for stopping to perform CPR on 31-year-old Donahue when she was hit and killed by a driver who left the scene while crossing Roosevelt Road at Crest Street on foot.

"The nightmares that I have to go through about my daughter laying on that ground and being alone, she's comforted me," said Traci Palucci, Donahue's mother. "She's our hero. I couldn't ask for anybody to be with my daughter in the worst situation that anybody could ever imagine."

After investigating the crash for more than a year, Wheaton police said they identified and located the driver involved, a Batavia woman who they say cooperated with detectives.

My daughter was worth way more than a citation
Traci Palucci

The DuPage County State's Attorney's Office says it "conducted an extensive review of the facts and circumstances," and "under Illinois law, criminal charges were not filed," citing case law that "requires proof that [the] accused driver had knowledge that he or she was involved in an accident that involved another person."

Instead, the driver was issued a citation for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

"My daughter was worth way more than a citation," Palucci said.

Now, Donahue's friends have started an online petition, calling on the state's attorney to reconsider charges.

"We were supposed to grow old together, and now, I'm stuck without her, and it's not fair," said Lisha Harris, Donahue's friend.

That online petition has garnered more than 440 signatures.