A Rockford man riding his ATV struck a Rockford police car early Saturday morning. The accident happened at the intersection of Morgan and Winnebago Street. 25-year-old Henry Hinkle of Rockford was last reported in critical condition at Rockford Memorial Hospital. His injuries are said to be severe after the force of the impact with the squad car sent Hinkle airborne. Charges against Hinkle are pending. The officer driving the patrol car, Rockford Patrol Sergeant Renee Pittz-Pobjecky suffered head and ear injuries. He was taken to Swedish American hospital with minor injuries and has since been released.
Police say the ATV was traveling west on Morgan Street when Hinkle disobeyed a red light and crossed into the intersection at Winnebago Street. ATV's are not allowed on city streets and have caused thousands of dollars in property damage this year. The Rockford City Council has set up a subcommittee to talk with ATV owners in an attempt to find a solution to where ATV owners can legally ride. 10th Ward Alderman Frank Beach is trying to get the state to now license ATV vehicles, like boats and motorcycles. Beach says ATV's could be more easily identified and help police crack down on illegal riders.
If ATV's do eventually get licensed no telling when that might happen, but Alderman Beach says he is shooting for next spring. Beach plans to ask city council to back a resolution on licensing ATV's before sending his proposal to Springfield.