Fatal Chicago area teen DUI crash results in personal injury lawsuit

A fatal Chicago suburban car accident involving teens leaving a graduation party earlier this summer has led to a personal injury lawsuit in Kane County Circuit Court.

A 17-year-old from St. Charles St. Charles, has filed suit seeking more than $50,000. Her attorney claims she suffered a broken jaw and a brain injury as a result of the accident June 17. The plaintiff was one of four teenagers in an SUV that went off the road and slammed into trees on the 3100 block of Royal Fox Drive in St. Charles. The accident killed a front-seat passenger from West Chicago.

The lawsuit accuses the teen driver of driving more than 40 mph over the speed limit down the wrong side of the road, high on marijuana and alcohol while driving a group of St. Charles East High School classmates home from a graduation party at 3:30 a.m.

Mertz and another back-seat passenger survived the crash. She had her jaw wired shut and is undergoing rehabilitation for a brain injury, according to her attorney. She is recovering but is having speech difficulties and the long-term effects of the brain injury remain uncertain.

The civil lawsuit is up in court for the first time on October 20th.

The driver has also been criminally charged with 12 counts of aggravated DUI and four counts of reckless homicide, according to the Suburban Chicago Daily Herald. Police have said his blood-alcohol content was nearly three times the legal threshold, and he tested positive for marijuana.

With school beginning, the Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes urge parents to speak with their children about driver safety and the need to make good choices when it comes to their safety behind the wheel or as a passenger.

The school year brings with it new friends, new opportunities, new freedom and new danger. Federal statistics consistently show auto accidents are the leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.