We have seen time and again how the decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence destroys lives — not just those of the victims, but of the drunk driver as well. Another sad story played out in a DuPage County courtroom recently.
A 34-year-old man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a car wreck that occurred in Feb. 2012 when he was driving home from an after-work event at a sports bar. He crashed into an Illinois State Police car in Addison. A trooper who was handling the aftermath of a collision on Interstate 290 had parked his squad car on the interstate behind the vehicle involved in the accident. The driver of the car in the initial accident, a 42-year-old Brookfield man, was sitting inside the squad car.
That’s when the defendant hit the squad car at approximately 70 miles per hour. The impact of the crash killed the Brookfield man and left the state trooper with whiplash and a concussion.
The defendant, who pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated driving under the influence, was driving home to Chicago from Itasca, where he and some co-workers had been at an event. Even though his employers had offered to pay for him to take a cab home, he decided to drive. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.19.
In sentencing the defendant, the judge took into consideration the fact that this was his second drunk driving conviction. His first occurred when he was 18. She determined that the first conviction had not deterred the man from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
The emotional defendant expressed his remorse to the judge. He also offered reassurances to the trooper, who had said that he felt his own guilt that a civilian whom he was assisting was killed. The defendant said that he was the only one to blame for the man’s death.
It was not reported whether the victim’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against the defendant, or if they plan to. While the victim’s mother said she forgives the man who killed her son, other family members may not feel as kindly towards him. Regardless, forgiveness does not absolve him of responsibility, criminal or civil, for taking a life.
Chicago Tribune, “Driver in fatal crash with trooper’s squad car gets 10 years” Clifford Ward, Oct. 24, 2013
Chicago man gets 10 years for deadly DUI crash in Addison