Mother Charged in DUI That Injured Nine Children

August 14th, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Tonica Cornwell, 30, was driving south on I-57 when she lost control of her vehicle, veered off the road, and rolled up on a grassy embankment near 99th Street. The accident resulted in the injuring of nine children, and Cornwell, who was driving a Chevy Suburban at the time of the incident, was charged with DUI immediately. The Suburban was carrying 11 people at the time of the crash, according to NBC Chicago Local News, and Cornwell is the mother of several of the children who were injured. When the Suburban rolled up on the embankment, it came to rest on the roof. “Witnesses told police the vehicle was ‘traveling at a high rate of speed’ when it rolled into the embankment,” according to NBC Chicago. NBC reports that, “in total two adults and nine children, ages 3 to 14, were transported to area hospitals with non life-threatening injuries.”  Mother Charged in DUI That Injured Nine Children IMAGE

The children involved in this accident are lucky, as is Cornwell, that the injuries sustained weren’t worse. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “of the 1,210 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2010, 211 (17 percent) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.” More than half of all child fatalities due to DUI occurred when the child was in the car with the drunk driver, not in a car that was piloted by a different driver. In Illinois, according to the Illinois State Police Department, any DUI crash which results in “great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement” carries the weight of a Class 4 felony, and an Aggravated DUI charge. Punishment for this type of charge includes a “minimum of one-year loss of full driving privileges; mandatory ten days imprisonment or 480 hours community service; possible imprisonment for up to 12 years; a maximum fine of $25,000.”

Cornwell is facing other charges as well, considering that seven of the passengers in the Suburban were not wearing seatbelts, according to Chicago CBS Local. In addition to DUI, Cornwell has been charged with “nine counts of child endangerment… [and] also issued traffic ticket for child restraint violations.”

If you or someone you know has been charged in an accident such as this, don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced Chicago DUI attorney today.

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