Archive for the ‘Car Accident’ tag

Out-of-State Resident Charged with Aggravated DUI

November 15th, 2013 at 2:55 pm

illinois-reckless-dui-chargesA South Carolina man was charged with driving under the influence after a fatal car accident that claimed the lives of a Pontiac, IL police officer and his K-9 partner. The Pantagraph reports that Jason Collins of West Columbia, SC, struck a parked Pontiac Police SUV that contained Officer Casey Kohlmeier and a German Shepherd K-9 officer named Draco. Kohlmeier was taken to the hospital, where he died from his injuries. Draco died at the site of the crash.

Collins told police that he had been drinking at a bar before the accident. Surveillance footage confirms that he was at a Bloomington bar for 5 hours before getting behind the wheel.

Collins was charged with one count of reckless homicide, two counts of driving under the influence, and two additional counts of aggravated driving under the influence. In the State of Illinois, DUI is a Class A misdemeanor, and is only punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year minus one day, or a fine of no more than $2500. However, a charge of driving under the influence can be aggravated by a number of things, including:

  • Driving a school bus with juveniles on board;
  • Causing bodily injury to someone in a school zone;
  • Causing bodily injury to a passenger under the age of 16; or
  • Causing death or great bodily injury to someone as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

Aggravated DUI is a Class 4 Felony (for the first offense), and is punishable by incarceration of up to 3 years and a maximum fine of $25,000 for each offense.

Reckless homicide is defined as the unintentional killing of an individual while driving a motor vehicle and operating the vehicle in such a way that it becomes airborne. Ordinarily, reckless homicide is a Class 3 felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 5 years and a $25,000 fine. However, if the victim of the homicide is a peace officer in the midst of performing his law enforcement duties, reckless homicide is a Class 2 Felony, with a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

DUI is expensive, dangerous and, often, tragic. Losing one’s driver’s license is often the very least one can expect from driving under the influence. At worst, you can end up broke, incarcerated, and responsible for the death of an innocent police officer and his dog. The best way to prevent being arrested for DUI is to not drink and drive. If you do find yourself under arrest for DUI, contact an experienced DUI attorney in Illinois for guidance and representation.

Two DUIs, One Crash

August 18th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Neither driver should have been on the road one Saturday morning early in August, according to Chicago CBS Local. After a grisly accident on the Stevenson Expressway, both drivers involved in the crash were charged with DUI. “It’s rare for both drivers in an accident to be charged with DUI,” reports Chicago CBS Local. “Illinois State Police tell CBS that one-half of that duo, a female driver, is in stable condition.” The woman is 21-year-old Megan Bargardo, whose grey Mercury Sable stalled in the middle of the highway when she was driving home after a night out. It was about midnight when her Sable was rear-ended by a Scion, piloted by 24-year-old Anthony Hornburg. According to CBS, the accident, in which a 24-year-old passenger from Bargardo’s vehicle was seriously injured, “tied up traffic on I-55 for nearly four hours as cars traffic was reduced to one lane.” There were four passengers in these cars affected in total by the crash. There is still no resolution as to why the Sable was stalled in the middle of the expressway, according to CBS Local.  Two DUIs, One Crash IMAGE

Both young people were of legal drinking age, but still in the bracket in which drunk driving is a serious threat, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) statistics. “In fatal crashes in 2010, the highest percentage of drunk drivers was for drivers ages 21 to 24 (34 percent), followed by ages 25 to 34 (30 percent) and 35 to 44 (25 percent),” according to MADD. Females were about half as likely to drive under the influence, according to MADD statistics, and about 30 percent of all drivers arrested or convicted of a DUI had been previously convicted or charged with DUI.

In Illinois, according to the Illinois State Police, DUI conviction penalties increase with the number of DUIs that the driver has incurred. For the first DUI conviction, there’s a “minimum of one-year loss of full driving privileges; possible imprisonment for up to one year; and a maximum fine of $2,500.”

If you or someone you know has been accused or charged with DUI, don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced DUI attorney today.

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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