It’s bad enough when someone who has consumed too much alcohol tries to get behind the wheel and navigate the streets to get home after a night of partying. But what’s even worse is when the same individual makes the extremely poor decision to get on the freeway and drive at faster speeds.
That’s what happened this past weekend on the far South Side of Chicago, and the results were as predictable as they were tragic. A 24-year old man was driving northbound on I-57 at a high rate of speed in the Morgan Park area. The 2001 Oldsmobile Aurora came to an S-curve in the road, and the driver lost control of the vehicle which struck a light pole on the right embankment. The car rolled over and ejected the driver and the vehicle’s three passengers.
One of the passengers, a 24-year old South Holland man, died on the scene; while the two other men (aged 20 and 24) were rushed to a nearby hospital with serious to critical injuries. The driver also had to be transported to the hospital. None of the four occupants were wearing seat belts. After the crash, police charged the driver with driving under the influence; and more charges may be forthcoming.
The two injured passengers appear to have strong cases for personal injury lawsuits against the driver, who may also be named as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit by the family of the South Holland man. While it’s true that the men contributed to their injuries by choosing not to wear seat belts, it is still ultimately the driver’s responsibility to keep his passengers safe while he is operating his vehicle. In addition, the fact that the 24-year old driver was allegedly drunk at the time of the rollover crash may leave him exposed to punitive damages in any forthcoming lawsuit.