Lots of people react differently during a funeral. Some exhibit their grief openly, while others display quiet reflection. A few may recall the good times in the life of the decedent. But rarely do people get drunk at the funeral – and then continue drinking in the car on the way home.
Unfortunately, that appears to be the case with four people who were involved in an Illinois auto accident on Chicago’s West Side last week. On Wednesday morning shortly after 12:45am, four people were reportedly drinking from a four-liter bottle of wine in a car after attending a New Year’s Day funeral. The car was traveling eastbound on Madison Street about a quarter mile past Ashland Avenue when it slammed into a concrete planter that divides the roadway near Bishop Street.
All four people suffered injuries that required transportation to a nearby hospital. The 24-year old woman driving the car was later found to have a blood alcohol level at .246, which is more than three times the legal limit in Illinois. The driver, who admitted that she started drinking during the funeral, was arrested on charges which included felony aggravated driving under the influence, negligent driving, and illegal transportation of alcohol (for having an open container of wine in the car).
The legal troubles for the 24-year old woman extend far beyond the criminal court. Should they choose to do so, the passengers in the car may file personal injury lawsuits against the woman (although one of the passengers was the driver’s sister, so she probably won’t pursue such legal action). A jury may order the defendant to reimburse the passengers for the money they spent on medical expenses (even though they were drinking as well). It’s also possible that the driver may have to part with punitive damages if she is indeed convicted on DUI charges in connection with the Illinois auto accident.