A North Chicago police officer is being held on $500,000 bond after being accused of causing an accident that killed two people in a wrong-way accident on Lake Shore Drive. The crash occurred on Friday evening after the officer (who was not on duty at the time) sped down the highway into oncoming traffic.
Cook County prosecutors charged him with two counts of reckless homicide, and aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol. They also report that his blood alcohol level was .184, which is more than twice the state’s legal limit (.08). Witness reports indicate that the officer’s car was travelling at least 60 mph, although the speed limit is 45 mph on that stretch of road.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending a full investigation into the case.
Criminal charges can have an influence on personal injury claims. With the fatalities stemming from the accident, it is likely that surviving family members would pursue a wrongful death claim against the officer. The criminal convictions can serve as the basis for such claims because evidence of driving under the influence suggests that the driver failed to use reasonable care to avoid the impairment that comes with drinking alcohol.
It also suggests that alcohol impairment was directly linked to the accident that caused the other drivers’ deaths. As such, an experienced personal injury attorney can use criminal convictions to prove negligence in a wrongful death claim.
If you have further questions about how a criminal conviction can help (or hurt) a personal injury claim, an experienced attorney can advise you.
Source: StlToday.com, Suburban Chicago officer charged in fatal crash, March 17, 2013