Authorities and safety advocates in Illinois strongly stress that if you drink any alcohol, then you shouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car. That’s because some people can have a few drinks and think that they are “okay to drive,” but in reality may be impaired enough to cause an auto accident. While people may differ on whether having a drink or two constitutes drunk driving, they can probably all agree on one thing: you shouldn’t be driving at all if you have been drinking for over thirteen hours.
Inexplicably, one man from Orland Park didn’t heed that basic advice, and now a family will have to try and survive without their wife and mother. Early Sunday morning around 6:15am, a 51-year old woman from Lockport was driving to her job as a nurse in Oak Lawn. She was driving her sport utility vehicle eastbound on 95th Street through the Paw Paw Woods Nature Preserve when she approached the intersection with La Grange Road. As the woman proceeded through the intersection on a green light, a pickup truck heading south on La Grange ran a red light and T-boned her SUV.
The Lockport mother of three was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later. The man was arrested and charged with aggravated driving under the influence after telling police that he had been drinking since 5pm on Saturday in Chicago.
Because the 25-year old Orland Park man made the decision to drive after a 13-hour bender, he now faces felony criminal charges in Cook County. But he may also be named as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the victim’s husband. That means that a jury could force the pickup truck driver to pay reimbursement expenses for hospital and burial, compensation for estimated wages that the nurse would have earned in her lifetime, and damages for mental anguish and loss of care and companionship.