Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Tom Byrne was given strict orders from Mayor Rahm Emanuel earlier this week to tighten up city enforcement of road laws, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. This order comes after a pedestrian accident in Chicago, allegedly caused by a city employee driving drunk.
We previously reported on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog that eight people suffered injuries after a city worker allegedly lost control of his truck in the Gold Coast community. The city worker is being accused of driving under the influence at the time of the accident.
Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that intoxicated motorists are frequently responsible for the serious and fatal accidents that occur on our roads. It’s particularly egregious that a city employee is involved.
“One of the things I said to Commissioner Byrne was I want to know what steps need to be taken so, in the future, this does not occur again – both at the level of management and at the level of employees,” Emanuel said.
The 61-year-old city worker reportedly had a blood alcohol concentration of more than twice the legal limit. Termination proceedings have already been started by the city against that employee. The mayor wants more done though. He says firing the worker isn’t enough to suffice for these types of tragedies that affect the lives of the injured and cost the city millions.
Prosecutors report that the city worker plowed through the group of pedestrians in a city vehicle, a Ford F-150, with a bottle of brandy in his cab. The driver is being held of a $400,000 bond and is facing charges including four counts of felony aggravated DUI and two counts of misdemeanor DUI. He was also cited for negligent driving, failing to reduce speed and transporting open alcohol in a vehicle.
“You take these moments, you deal with them and there are lessons learned for future. And I’ve directed Commissioner Byrne to come back with recommendations,” said Emanuel.
Currently, city employees that hold a valid driver’s license are subject to random drug and alcohol tests. The employee that took out several pedestrians earlier this week was not a part of these random screenings. He was a worker assigned to empty garbage cans and to collect stray debris throughout the city.
“Streets and Sanitation is conducting its own internal review into all aspects of this incident, including supervision, to determine if any policies and procedures should be changed to prevent such incidents in the future,” Smith said.
Employees that have jobs similar to this city employee are only subjected to drug and alcohol tests after being involved in an accident. This worker was tested earlier this year, in March, after an on-the-job accident that resulted in property damage. His previous test came back with negative results.
“Random drug [and alcohol] testing for laborers would have to be negotiated with the union. The city cannot implement the tests unilaterally,” Smith said in an e-mail response to the Chicago Sun-Times.
All motorists are asked to both keep a watchful eye out for pedestrians and to refrain from drinking and driving. This city worker reportedly had neither in mind and in turn injured a number of innocent residents. The city reports to have upped its efforts to keep an eye on their employees to reduce the risks of such accidents in the future.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle or pedestrian accident in Chicago, contact the personal injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys at Abels & Annes P.C. for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (312) 924-7575.