Palatine Woman Sentenced to Five Years in Prison Following DUI Crash While Huffing and Taking Other Drugs

A 20-year-old Palatine woman who stood accused of injuring four people after she passed out while huffing behind the wheel of a vehicle recently pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating chemicals (DUI) in Cook County Circuit Court. According to Assistant State Attorney Mike Gerber, blood tests performed on the motorist following the nighttime crash showed that the 20-year-old had heroin, cocaine, and codeine in her system as well.

According to Gerber, the April 2012 accident occurred after the 20-year-old passed out, crossed into oncoming traffic, and struck another vehicle on Northwest Highway near First Bank Drive in Palatine. The force of the impact reportedly caused the young woman’s car to flip and land on top of a vehicle carrying two people. The crash allegedly critically injured an 84-year-old woman. The elderly woman’s adult son and two passengers who were riding in the 20-year-old motorist’s car were also purportedly hurt in the traffic wreck. The 84-year-old now reportedly requires 24 hour care.

Following the crash, the 20-year-old driver was transported to Northwest Memorial Hospital where she allegedly admitted to huffing immediately prior to passing out. She has purportedly been incarcerated in the Cook County Jail where she enrolled in a drug treatment program since she was charged. After the young woman reportedly apologized for injuring several people, Judge Ellen Beth Mandeltort sentenced her to five years in prison. She could have received a 12 year sentence in connection with the Class Four Felony.

Increasingly, law enforcement officers throughout the Chicago Metro are arresting drivers who are suspected of driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. According to data collected by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, nearly one-fifth of motorists killed in car accidents throughout the United States in 2009 had drugs in their system. In Illinois, that number was reportedly even higher. As with other forms of DUI, drivers who choose to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs can experience blurred vision, slower than normal reaction times, an inability to focus, and overall poor judgment. Sadly, everyone traveling on the roadways in Illinois and elsewhere is placed at risk when an impaired motorist gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

The victims of a traffic wreck that was caused by an impaired driver may experience catastrophic injuries or death. Despite that a drugged motorist may be held criminally liable, he or she should also be held financially responsible for any damages that resulted from a collision. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident with a drugged driver, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical costs, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, any resulting disability, and a variety of other damages. If you lost a close relative in a wreck caused by an impaired driver, you may also be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A skilled Chicago car accident lawyer can help.

If you were hurt or a loved one was killed by a drugged or otherwise impaired driver in the Chicago Metro, you should discuss your case with the experienced attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. Our hardworking Chicago car accident lawyers are available every day of the week to answer your questions and help you file your personal injury or wrongful death claim. Our dedicated attorneys have years of experience advocating on behalf of injured clients throughout the Chicago Metro. To speak with a capable personal injury lawyer today, please do not hesitate to give Abels & Annes, P.C. a call at (312) 475-9596. You may also contact us through the law firm’s website.

More Blogs:

Three Killed, One Critically Injured in Crash in Chicago’s Roseland Neighborhood, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, January 24, 2013
One Hurt When Elderly Driver Loses Control of Car and Hits Lincoln Park Store, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, January 21, 2013
Additional Resources:

5 years in prison for Palatine huffing crash, by George Houde, Chicago Tribune


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