A 28-year-old Sumner, Illinois resident was recently sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated DUI for the June 2014 car accident that killed her boyfriend. She was sentenced this month by Lake County Circuit Court Judge James Booras. Her prison sentence is periodic, meaning she will occasionally be released for treatment and medical services. Following her jail sentence, she will be required to serve four years of probation.
According to Waukegan police records, officers responded to a report that a car struck a utility pole at around 3 a.m. on June 28, 2014. According to witnesses, the driver was traveling at high speeds when she crashed into the pole on North Lewis Avenue. While her 24-year-old boyfriend was killed instantly, the crash also resulted in the driver losing both of her legs. She was immediately airlifted to a hospital in Libertyville, where she was announced to be in critical condition. No other cars were involved in the crash, and both the driver and her boyfriend were wearing seat belts.
According to District Attorney Dan Brown, the driver’s blood alcohol content was well above the legal limit. In exchange for her guilty plea, Brown dropped the reckless homicide charge.
Under Illinois’ reckless homicide law (720 ILCS 5/9-3), a person who unintentionally kills an individual without lawful justification commits manslaughter if their acts (whether lawful or unlawful) are likely to cause death or great bodily harm to some individual, and they perform them recklessly. The statute, however, makes an exception for cases in which the death results from a motor vehicle accident. In that case, the defendant under the same circumstances commits reckless homicide, as opposed to reckless manslaughter. Reckless homicide is a Class 3 felony, which carries a prison sentence of 2-5 years and potential fines.
Aggravated DUI, the charge to which the driver pleaded guilty, is a Class A misdemeanor. In Illinois, a Class A misdemeanor is the most serious misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Pursuant to 635 ILCS 5/11-501, a person is guilty of aggravated DUI when they are guilty of a regular DUI and one of the following factors applies: (A) it’s the driver’s third or more DUI; (B) the defendant was driving a school bus with at least one passenger: (C) the DUI was a proximate cause of great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement; (D) the defendant has an enumerated previous conviction; (E) the defendant was driving in a school zone; (F) the crash was the proximate cause of the death of another person; (G) the defendant’s driving privileges were revoked or suspended at the time; (H) the defendant committed the violation while they did not possess a driver’s license or permit; (I) the defendant committed the violation while knowing the vehicle was not covered by an insurance policy; (J) the defendant was involved in a car accident that proximately caused bodily harm to a child under 16; (K) it is the defendant’s second DUI, and they were transporting a person under 16; or (L) the defendant was transporting one or more passengers in a vehicle for hire.
While it wasn’t reported, it appears the driver was charged under subsection (F), since the crash proximately caused the death of her boyfriend, and she was under the influence of alcohol at the time.
If you have been charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, it is crucial to speak to an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Harvatin Law Offices, PC provides knowledgeable representation to people in Springfield and throughout Illinois. We have considerable experience defending individuals charged with DUI offenses and representing drivers with revoked licenses before the Illinois Secretary of State. To learn more, and to set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 217.525.0520.
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New Jersey Appellate Court Reverses Woman’s Vehicular Homicide Conviction, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, February 3, 2017.
California Smartphone Breathalyzer Company Settles Lawsuit with FCC, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, February 2, 2017.
State Supreme Court Vacates DUI Enhanced by Prior Conviction Obtained in Violation of the Sixth Amendment, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blog, January 3, 2017.