A 37-year-old Chicago man was sentenced this week to 15 years in prison after his speeding vehicle caused a crash that killed two back in 2011. The incident occurred near the intersection of Austin Avenue and Sunnyside Avenue. The defendant was reportedly speeding on Austin Avenue as he hurried to pick up his girlfriend on August 9, 2011 when he collided with a Honda Civic pulling out from Sunnyside.
The Civic was driven by a 35-year-old woman who was driving several children to Wisconsin for a camping trip. The woman was killed in the crash and so was her 16-year-old son, who was a student at Taft High School. In addition, the woman’s 3-year-old son suffered a broken leg and her stepson, a high school sophomore, sustained permanent vision and hearing loss on his left side. A 16-year-old friend of the family suffered a broken pelvis in the collision but survived.
In presenting its case, the State argued that the defendant was speeding down the street and was impaired by marijuana at the time. After the evidence was presented, a jury determined the defendant was not impaired after determining that the small level of marijuana detected in the defendant’s blood stream may have been through second hand exposure. The same jurors did convict the man on counts of reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence which led to the 15 year prison sentence. He will have to serve at least 85 percent of that sentence, or 13 years, before being eligible for release.
The defendant apologized for his actions in court and admitted responsibility for the crash. He stated that speeding caused the collision and that alcohol or drugs played no part. According to the prosecutor, the defendant did not have a valid license at the time of the crash and had not had one since 2003.
Speeding is a common factor in many driver’s daily routines. While speeding may seem innocent and unlikely to lead to harm, in fact it is one of the most dangerous behaviors on the road. Speeding is estimated to be a factor in over 50 percent of all collisions across the nation. Though speeding causes so many crashes, drivers do not recognize the danger they pose to themselves and others when speeding on the road.
Not only will this defendant spend more than a decade in prison, he may also face civil claims for the injuries and loss of lives he caused with his reckless conduct. The victims in the crash may seek monetary relief against this driver and/or his insurance company to provide payment for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. This means the defendant may continue to suffer from his actions even though the sentencing phase of his criminal case has concluded.
This is important for victims of an accident to realize because when another person causes you harm, the law provides a remedy in the form of a financial recovery. After an accident, this money can mean the difference between getting the medical attention you need and being unable to afford the treatment you deserve.
If you have been hurt in an accident or if your family member has been killed, please call the Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a free case consultation. At Abels & Annes, our only focus is helping accident victims get a recovery they deserve. We have a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day to take your call at (855) 529-2442 or (312) 924-7575 and there is never an obligation on your part when you call us, so please call now and let us help you.
Prior Blog Entries:
Illinois to Combine Ignition Interlock Devices With Cameras, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published July 8, 2013.
Deficiencies in Bridges May Place Illinois Drivers in Danger, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published July 5, 2013.
Man gets 15 years in DUI accident that killed mother, son, by Steve Schmadeke, Chicago Tribune, published July 8, 2013.