Saturday was the first day of autumn 2012, and it was commemorated in various ways by Americans all across the nation. Unfortunately, two people decided to celebrate by getting drunk, sliding behind the wheel of a vehicle, and killing someone.
Around 2am Saturday morning in Cook County, a woman was trying to get into her car on South Pulaski Road between 65th and 66th Streets in the West Lawn neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest Side. But a 51-year old man driving another vehicle struck the woman, and she died at a nearby hospital less than 24 hours later. The man was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, aggravated DUI causing an accident and death, reckless driving, failure to reduce speed, and driving without insurance.Then a couple hours later, another deadly crash occurred in Tazewell County. According to Illinois State Police, a sport utility vehicle was traveling west on Farmdale Road near Bittersweet Road, which is near the Farmdale Recreation Area in East Peoria. The Niles man who was driving lost control of the SUV, which crossed traffic and left the roadway. The driver overcorrected, drove the vehicle back across both lanes of traffic, and rolled it over. The 20-year old driver and three other men were able to exit the vehicle, but a 23-year old Elgin man was pinned underneath the SUV. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver was found to have a blood alcohol content of .154. Like the suspect in Chicago, the Niles man was charged with aggravated DUI causing an accident and death as well as driving under the influence; and also faces charges of improper lane usage, illegal transportation of alcohol, and failure to wear a seat belt.
Relatives of both victims who died appear to have strong grounds for wrongful death lawsuits against the accused drunk drivers.