Mother of Mokena Teen Killed in Homer Crash Suing Driver

The mother of a 16-year-old killed when the pickup he was riding in crashed and rolled is suing the driver.

The mother of a Mokena teen killed when the pickup truck he was riding in crashed and rolled over is suing both the driver and the driver's father.

Michele Vana, the mother of 16-year-old Jay Vana, filed the lawsuit in the Joliet courthouse Friday.

The suit names 17-year-old driver Daniel Janik of Lockport and Janik's father, Stanislaw Janik. Stanislaw Janik owned the pickup his son was driving when it crashed, killing Jay Vana, according to the lawsuit.

Daniel Janik was behind the wheel of the 1998 Ford F-150 the night of Sept. 25 when he turned south off of Lauffner Road onto Haas Road in Homer Township, the suit says.

The pickup "slid across the roadway, struck a tree, and rolled over on the passenger side, causing serious injuries to Jay T. Vana that resulted in his death" that night.

The pickup reportedly landed on Jay Vana after he was ejected from the cab.

Jay Vana was taken to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox but died there. Daniel Janik was also injured and transported to Silver Cross.

Investigators reportedly found no indication of drugs or alcohol playing a role in the crash. Daniel Janik reportedly told police he lost control of the pickup when he swerved to avoid a deer in the road.

Daniel Janik faces no criminal charges in connection with the wreck.

"The case is under review right now," said Charles B. Pelkie, the spokesman for the Will County State's Attorney's Office.

Michele Vana named Stanislaw Janik in the lawsuit because he owned the pickup and allegedly "should have known that Daniel Janik had a history of dangerous and negligent operation of the vehicle and/or other motor vehicles."

The lawsuit fails to say how Stanislaw Janik was supposed to know this. It also makes no mention of any instance of Daniel Janik driving dangerously or negligently, despite his alleged "history."


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