Archive for the ‘Aggravated DUI’ tag
September 21st, 2013 at 9:18 pm
Jill Beebe, 42, of South Elgin, was charged in mid-September for operating a school bus under the influence of alcohol, according to the Chicago Tribune. Beebe’s bond was set at $100,000 after a school employee smelled alcohol on her breath when letting students off at a West Chicago school. “The school district contacted the bus company that employs Beebe, which ordered her to stop operating the bus,” the Tribune reports. “A police officer arrived and administered field sobriety tests and then arrested the driver,” according to a news release cited by the Tribune. Getting behind the wheel of a school bus while intoxicated carries an even higher punishment than behind the wheel of a car. According to the Tribune, Beebe is now facing charges of Aggravated DUI, which is a felony, punishable of up to three years in prison.
The number of incidents involving school bus drivers operating the vehicle while intoxicated has risen in recent years, or at least garnered more media attention than in decades past. In fact, earlier this year a bill was proposed in New York state that would “greatly expand random drug and alcohol testing for school bus drivers while also imposing stronger penalties on intoxicated school bus drivers,” according to School Transportation News. The bill came after at least four incidents were reported in New York involving school bus drivers who were arrested for DUI, “including a much-publicized incident when the driver crashed his bus into a Syosset home while transporting five young students,” reports School Transportation News.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and reported in the 2013 Illinois DUI Fact Book, “an average of one alcohol-impaired driving fatality occurs every 53 minutes.” In Beebe’s instance the driver was apprehended before any accident occurred, but operating a school bus (or transporting any child under the age of 16) is considered an automatic Aggravated DUI charge regardless if anyone was injured or not.
If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois DUI attorney today.
August 8th, 2013 at 12:18 pm
Late July finally brought the day of reckoning for Daniel Clark, the 32-year-old who in February of last year killed Frank Caruso in a DUI crash that rocked Chicago’s Eisenhower Expressway. Clark pleaded guilty in court this month to charges of drunk driving, according to ABC Local News. “Prosecutors say Clark admitted to having five glasses of wine before getting behind the wheel. They say his blood alcohol level was .249, more than three times the legal limit,” reports ABC. In a sad twist of fate, when he was killed Caruso was in a squad car, having narrowly avoided a different accident just minutes before the fatal crash. Caruso had just gotten off the phone with his girlfriend, assuring her that he was okay after his car slid on the icy highway, when Clark barreled into the back of the squad car where Caruso was sitting and waiting for a tow.
Blurred with his five glasses of wine, Clark did not manage to see the lights flashing ahead of him. Clark plowed into the back of the car at a high speed, killing Caruso and injuring the trooper. “Clark,” according to ABC, “was charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence.” The trooper was also badly hurt in the crash, but no update was available as to his condition at the time of Clark’s guilty plea.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and as reported by the Century Council, “32,885 people died in traffic crashes in 2010 in the United States (latest figures available), including an estimated 10,228 people who died in drunk driving crashes.” That figure amounts to a whopping 31 percent of all traffic fatalities. Despite this seemingly high number, drunk driving fatalities are actually down significantly from the early 1980s—“drunk driving fatalities have decreased 52 percent from 21,113 in 1982,” according to the Century Council.
If you or someone you know has been accused or charged with drunk driving, don’t wait to contact an attorney. Contact an experienced Chicago-area DUI lawyer today.
August 3rd, 2013 at 12:16 pm
A mother and her son were killed in 2011 in a grisly driving while intoxicated accident on the Northwest side of Chicago. The responsible driver, Richard Strum, 37, was this month sentenced to 15 years in prison in connection with the deaths. Also involved in the crash were the woman, Claudia Delia’s, stepson, Zack Marvin, “a high school sophomore whose vision and hearing were permanently damaged on the left side of his head, forcing him to give up his dream of becoming a Marine,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Also in the car were Delia’s son Hauk Marvin, 3, whose leg was broken, and 16-year-old family friend Chris Dias, who suffered a broken pelvis. According to the Tribune, “the group had been headed for an end-of-summer camping trip in Wisconsin.”
Strum, according to the Tribune, was a Chicago resident but had not had a valid license since 2003. Despite this, he continued to “drive and rack up tickets.” It wasn’t booze that was found in his system, however—Strum received the heavy-handed sentence after “a urine test found cannabis in Strum’s system,” despite the fact that “his attorney argued that the amount of cannabis detected was minuscule and could have come from secondhand smoke,” according to the Tribune. Jurors apparently didn’t see this as reasonable cause that he wasn’t totally at fault, and “convicted him on multiple counts of aggravated DUI and reckless homicide.” In an apology that Strum read in court this month from the defense table, he stuck to his story that he wasn’t actually under the influence of anything at the time of the accident. The Tribune reports that Strum told the jury that “I was driving too fast that day. It was my stupidity that caused the accident, not the use of booze or drugs.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “drugged driving always have lagged behind alcohol-related driving legislation, in part because of limitation in the current technology for determining drug levels and resulting impairment.” It’s likely that stricter drugged driving laws will continue to be passed as technology makes testing for drugged driving on site easier.