Law enforcement officials are often plagued with the perception that they fail to treat suspects as “innocent until proven guilty.” But the hard truth is that the majority of people they come into contact with on a given day have in fact committed a crime. In some cases, even people whom police don’t believe to be criminals are actually guilty of some offense.
One such example happened back on January 26 in Cook County. Around 7am, Illinois State troopers found a 44-year old Chicago woman wandering near the entrance ramp of the Stevenson Expressway near Harlem Avenue in Lyons. Since the woman, who said she was walking home from a Berwyn bar, was freezing and appeared to be intoxicated, the troopers took her to a hospital for treatment.
But what she didn’t tell the troopers was that she had actually crashed a sport utility vehicle carrying two female passengers about four hours earlier. According to reports, the woman was driving the SUV south on Harlem around 3am, but the SUV missed the southbound entrance ramp to the expressway, jumped a curb, drove through a barrier, and plummeted about fifty feet onto Canal Bank Road below. The passengers, a 37-year old Berwyn woman and a 36-year old Bolingbrook woman, died in the auto accident. Nobody witnessed the crash, and no 911 call was placed.
After authorities deduced that the 44-year old woman was involved, she was charged this week with aggravated driving under the influence, failure to report an accident resulting in death, and several other offenses. If she is indeed found to have been driving the SUV, the families of the deceased victims could file wrongful death lawsuits against the Chicago woman in order to collect reimbursement for burial expenses, damages for pain and suffering and loss of care or companionship, and estimated future wages the women might have earned had the auto accident never occurred.