A new billboard can now be seen on Highway 251. The message on that appears is meant to raise awareness.

By Marianne Mueller


Powerful messaging appears on a billboard can be seen on Highway 251. In the bottom right hand corner is a photo of two young friends, Bobby Figinsky and his friend Macayla Mertz. The words in all capital letters, “HIT A PARKED CAR? Ticket; HIT TWO CHILDREN? NOTHING, SHAME ON YOU, WINNEBAGO COUNTY! A Facebook symbol is followed by the words, JusticeforBobby, paid for by Corin Mertz.

Mertz’s daughter Macayla Wilson was walking alongside her friend Bobby Figinksy on Hononegah Road in October of 2017 when a car struck both of them. Macayla was injured and still has ongoing back and neck issues. As a result of his injuries Bobby died that night. Since the night of the accident; Bobby’s mother Jenessa continued seeking answers and justice for her son.

Mertz pitched the idea of the billboard to Bobby’s mom Jenessa. “She didn’t like the idea at first but I pushed the issue to try to help her focus on a positive from this negative,” Mertz said. “My first idea for the billboard was, “Welcome to Winnebago County, where murdering children is legal. Our ideas evolved since then to what we decided on along with a few changes in the artwork we have coming up.”

“Although we cannot get justice for our children they are now the face of our campaign for change,” Mertz said. “They represent all of us; the people who walk their dogs, the tween-agers who want more freedom to explore their neighborhoods, the couples out for a stroll after work. All of us can put ourselves in Bobby and Macayla’s shoes. They were out for a walk and they did the safest thing they could by crossing in the crosswalk and continuing on less than a quarter mile because they had to get back to Bobby’s house. “

“We cannot get justice for Bobby and Macayla but we can change the laws so that no other family has to go through what our families went through,” Mertz said. “I want to see a law for just ‘normal’ people, meaning that Scott’s Law exists for Construction Workers and emergency personnel; which I fully support and we should have a law to protect them; but everyone else should also be protected. It is not always the pedestrian’s fault.”

“The billboard is meant to raise awareness between the way personal property cases are handled versus cases involving cyclists and pedestrians; if you hit an object you get a ticket; if you hit a person there is rarely a record of it,” Bobby’s mother Jenessa Figinsky said.

“By putting up the billboard we want people to ask questions and to see that human life has value. In our driving society the general assumption is that drivers are always responsible and that pedestrians never are. The overwhelming public opinion is that if a person is walking or biking they must be up to no good or somehow less than,” Figinsky said.

Common responses are, “Well they shouldn’t have been walking or biking. “Why is being outside now an acceptable reason to die or to be badly injured? We all need to be more aware of our surroundings and use caution; but why does the responsibility fall solely on the shoulders of those who are walking or biking? Why aren’t drivers who are safe in their metal vehicles held responsible for their actions when it comes to hitting a human being? If they hit another vehicle they get a ticket but if they hit a person someone automatically says, “That person shouldn’t have been there; that person was wearing dark clothing, that person was up to no good; or they should have been home or have been driven to their destination. It is a knee-jerk reaction because people don’t want to think it could ever happen to them,” Figinsky said.

“They assume since they believe themselves to be responsible behind the wheel that everyone else is too, it makes them feel safer and when it happens to a child parents come out of the woodwork to say, “Well that would never happen to my child because…, because in the end it is fear driving these types of comments and by making people feel better about their own situations.”

No charges were filed against the driver who caused the accident. The statute of limitations for reckless homicide, vehicular manslaughter is 18 months in Illinois. “We fought for Justice for Bobby all the way up until the statute ran out,” Figinsky said.

“We were given the run around and meetings were delayed; evidence was ignored until the clock ran out. Then we were told, “Mistakes were made but we’ll get him next time. We were never taken seriously. They decided before they even came to the scene an hour after it happened that it was just a dumb kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. They tried to tell me that Bobby was out drinking or doing drugs and up to no good. The toxicology reports prove them to be dead wrong.”

“It was easier for them to believe that and to just close the case than to actually put real effort into doing their jobs. They didn’t even bother to get his basic description correct; how are we supposed to trust that they did anything correctly?” They didn’t request the dash cam footage from the Roscoe Police Department giving the reason, “We are a bigger/better agency.”

“They asked us for help, we don’t ask them, “Since when is an investigation a contest about which is the better agency? Isn’t all evidence relevant? Winnebago County dropped the ball and it was easier to smear Bobby than to admit they didn’t do their job correctly.”

“This is now for all of the people in the future. Bobby’s case is just one of many that had been handled terribly. There are many families who never received an ounce of justice. I have been contacted by many of them but don’t have the energy to fight this. I cannot speak for them with their stories but I can tell Bobby’s, and hopefully make a change for the whole community going forward,” Figinsky said. “Bobby is just one face in the sea of many. He may be the face of this mission but this is for every family who has experienced this kind of tragedy and for all the ones in the future.”

“Something has got to change. We can all do better; the police, our community and everyone who uses the roads and infrastructure in this area. The first step is being aware; the next is making a change.”

Bobby Figinsky would have been 17 years old in March of 2021. He is and always will be fondly remembered by many friends and family.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.