The teen was on a spring break bicycle trip downstate when an 86-year-old driver in a minivan swerved across the center line and struck her and two friends head on, according to Illinois State Police.
All three students were from the University of Chicago Lab School. The two friends, both 18, were taken to hospitals in Evansville in serious but stable condition.
The trio was cycling on Shawneetown/New Haven Road at Ponds Settlement Road – rural roads about 320 miles south of Chicago. The driver was not hurt and authorities said he will not face criminal charges.
Gallatin County Coroner Tony Cox happened to be driving past shortly after the accident and was first on the scene. He said all three girls were unconscious in a ditch and the driver was in shock.
Under state law, drivers over 81 years old must renew their license every two years. The state said the driver had no citations on his record and passed the driving test in November 2008.
Rabbi Aaron Petuchowski of Temple Sholom, said two of the victims participated in temple life.
One of the surviving girls was wearing a helmet but suffered two broken wrists, a broken jaw and broken bones in her face.
In 2008, 27 people were killed in Illinois bicycle accidents and another 3,385 were injured, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.