Decades ago, drinking and driving wasn’t considered much of an issue in Illinois and the rest of the nation. As a rule, the public’s attitude was one of ambivalence toward those who imbibed alcohol and then got behind the wheel of a vehicle. But after watching people get injured or killed because of drunk drivers, people began changing the way they viewed driving under the influence. Whereas it used to be common to grab some booze and go driving with friends, that practice is being strongly discouraged these days.
Unfortunately, such drinking and driving activities still do occur, and auto accidents take place as a result. In September, four people in their early 20s were driving south on South Blackjack Road in Jo Daviess County. Just before they reached the intersection with Illinois 84 on the north edge of Hanover, the 21-year old man from Galena who was driving lost control of the vehicle, which overturned in the roadway. A 20-year old Iowa woman and a 20-year old Wisconsin woman in the vehicle both had to be taken to a Galena hospital, while a 22-year old male passenger from Galena was treated at the scene and released. The driver, who was injured as well and had to be transported to a Freeport hospital, was charged with driving under the influence, improper lane usage, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and other offenses.
Illinois law dictates that the driver of a vehicle is responsible for the safety of his passengers. Therefore, the 21-year old man will probably be held liable for the injuries to the two women and the 22-year old man. So if the passengers choose to do so, they can file personal injury lawsuits against the driver in order to collect reimbursement for medical expenses. Because a DUI was involved, it’s even possible that the defendant will be ordered to pay punitive damages as well.