Posted On: August 27, 2009

27-Year-Old East Carondelet Woman Charged with 32 Counts of Aggravated DUI in Illinois Car Accident that Killed Four People Last May

Police in Clinton County, Illinois have charged Melissa Weiser with 32 counts of aggravated DUI. The 27-year-old was driving the car that crashed into a SUV on May 24 near Keyesport.

Three of the people riding in the SUV, Aviston resident Blake Thole, Germantown resident Derek Garrison, and Beckenmeyer resident Justin Haar, all died in the deadly Illinois car crash. Four other occupants, New Baden’s Crystal Fuehne, Albers’s Elisah Engelmann, Damiansville’s Casey Athmer, and Breese’s John Lampen sustained injuries. East Carondelet resident Chaz Sarget, who was riding in Weiser’s car, was also killed in the Clinton County, Illinois car crash.

Weiss was arrested on Tuesday after prosecutors filed the charges against her.

According to new government figures, the number of DUI arrests involving women in Illinois and the rest of the US has gone up, while the number of men arrested for DUI over the last 10 years has gone down. One reason for this, says former Cook County prosecutor Denise Nalley, is that police officers are no longer practicing leniency toward female drunk drivers.

In 2007, US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s daughter, Ann Banaszewski, was charged with DUI in DuPage County. Banaszewski was sentenced to 18-months court supervision and she had to undergo alcohol counseling.

While in 1998, 126,000 women were arrested in the US for drunk driving, that number rose to 162,000 in 2007. In Illinois, there were 7,430 women arrested for DUI in 1998. 9,800 women were arrested for Illinois drunk driving in 2007. In Chicago, there were 400 female DUI arrests in 2001. In 2007, 610 women were arrested for Chicago DUI.

As evidenced by the drunk driving accident that our Chicago car accident law firm discusses in this blog post, driving under the influence of any kind of substance is negligent driving that can kill people and destroy the lives of the victims’ loved ones.

Woman accused of felony DUI in wreck that killed 4, Chicago Tribune, August 27, 2009

Woman charged with DUI in Keyesport wreck that killed 4, BND, August 27, 2009

Cops get tough with women driving drunk, Chicago Sun-Times, August 23, 2009

Continue reading " 27-Year-Old East Carondelet Woman Charged with 32 Counts of Aggravated DUI in Illinois Car Accident that Killed Four People Last May " »

Bookmark and Share

Posted On: August 26, 2009

Lake County, Illinois Car Accident Leaves 3-Year-Old in Critical Condition

A 3-year-old girl is in critical but stable condition at a Chicago hospital. The young girl had been playing in Fox Lake on Monday evening when a Dodge that was backing out of 23 Arlington Road struck her. The girl was pinned underneath the vehicle during the backover accident and dragged some 200 feet before the driver realized what happened. The 3-year-old broke her collarbone and sustained shoulder and head injuries during the Lake County, Illinois car accident.

Police say they may pursue charges against the motorist.

Backover Accidents
Backover accidents involve a person that is struck by a vehicle that is backing up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 221 people died in backover accidents in 2007. 14,000 others were injured. 99 of the deaths and 2,000 of the injuries were kids in the 14 and under age group.

Most of the backover accidents took place in parking lots and driveways. Kids and Cars founder Janette Fennell says that the NHTSA figures affirms her group’s findings that about two children a week die in the US because of backover accidents.

It is important that motorists carefully check around and behind their vehicles before backing up. Larger cars, such as vans, sport utility vehicles, and trucks, tend to have bigger blind spots.

Steps to prevent backover accidents from happening:
• Physically go around your vehicle before backing it up.
• Keep an eye on children on the road so that you don’t miss one of them running behind your car.
• Keep toys and other items kids might want to play with off your driveway.
• Drive carefully

A driver can be held liable for personal injury if negligence or carelessness caused the motorist to accidentally run over someone during a Lake County, Illinois backover accident.

Fox Lake girl critical after struck by car, Lake County News-Sun, August 26, 2009

3-Year-Old Struck By Car, Dragged 200 Feet, CBS2Chicago, August 26, 2009

221 People Killed in "Backover" Accidents in 2007, NHTSA Study Shows, Edmunds Daily, January 2009

Related Web Resources:
Kids and Cars

Automobile Back-Over Accidents: How to Avoid a Surprisingly Prevalent & Serious Accident,

Bookmark and Share

Posted On: August 18, 2009

Woman Dies in Illinois Head-On Car Accident on Route 13

A 65-year-old woman was killed yesterday in an Illinois car accident on Route 13. Frances Koon, a seamstress, was going to work when her car was in a collision with a pickup just before 5am.

According to investigators, it was Nicholas Wilson, 19, who crossed the center line, causing the head-on crash with Koon’s motor vehicle. Illinois State Police have charged Wilson with DUI.

Three people were in the car driven by Wilson. The passengers, ages 19 – 21, were flown to hospitals.

Drunk Driving
Despite all the information available regarding the dangers of drunk driving, there are still many motorists that continue to drink and drive. Drunk driving accidents killed almost 13,000 people in 2007—that’s one drunk driving death every 40 minutes. In each of these instances, the driver who was drunk had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more.

Drunk driving accidents destroy the lives not just of the person killed or injured in the Illinois car crash, but also the lives of the victim’s loved ones who now must spend years dealing with the fact that the person they care about is gone or catastrophically hurt because someone drank too much and decided to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

On August 21, 2009, law enforcement officers throughout the US will begin an 18-day Drunk Driving crackdown until Labor Day. The initiative, called Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. Is meant to save lives and make it clear to motorists that if they are driving drunk, they will be arrested.

Drunk drivers that end up killing someone will likely face time in prison for committing this crime. The negligent motorist can also be held liable in civil court for Illinois personal injury or wrongful death.

Head On Collision Kills Woman from Lenzburg, Illinois, Fox2Now, August 17, 2009

Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest, NHTSA

Related Web Resources:
Underage Drinking, SADD

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Continue reading " Woman Dies in Illinois Head-On Car Accident on Route 13 " »

Bookmark and Share

Posted On: August 14, 2009

New Survey Ranks Chicago as #12 On 2009 List of US Metropolitan Centers with Most Road Rage

A 2009 new poll commissioned by AutoVantage called "In The Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey” ranks Chicago, Illinois number 12 on its list of 25 metropolitan centers in the United States. New York City ranked number one as the city with the rudest drivers in the country, a likely relief for Miami, which ranked on top for three years running until now.

When participants were asked what they felt were the leading causes of road rage, the most popular answers included:

• Bad driving
• Speeding
• Careless driving
• Tailgating
• Making obscene gestures
• Using a cell phone
• Failing to use the appropriate signals
• Running late, being in a hurry, being in a bad mood, feeling tired, having a bad day, or feeling stressed out
• Traffic
• Other car accidents
• Road construction
• Poor road conditions
• Rude drivers

The participants were asked about other drivers' behaviors that bothered them:

• Drivers who eat and drive
• Drivers who drink and drive
• Drivers who text or e-mail
• Speeding drivers
• Drivers who use cell phones

When asked how they might respond to behaviors by other drivers that bothered them:

• Curse at the motorist
• Honk their horn
• Make gestures with their arms
• Make obscene gestures
• Call police
• Rear end the car in front of them

Road Rage
Road rage can lead to Chicago car accidents resulting in serious injuries. A driver who is experiencing road rage may end up engaging in dangerous behavior, such as slamming the brakes to punish a tailgater, rear-ending a motorist who is driving too slowly, recklessly weaving out of traffic, or cutting off drivers in an attempt to vent their frustrations. This puts the angry driver, the other motorist, and the drivers and pedestrians around them at risk of serious injury or death.

Driver Courtesy: Forget It and Drive On, National Safety Commission, July 16, 2009

Affinion Road Rage 2009 Survey

Related Web Resource:
AutoVantage Road Rage Survey Reveals Best, Worst Cities, Affinion Group Media, June 16, 2009

Aggressive Driving: Three Studies, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Affinion Group Media

Continue reading " New Survey Ranks Chicago as #12 On 2009 List of US Metropolitan Centers with Most Road Rage " »

Bookmark and Share

Posted On: August 12, 2009

St. Charles, Illinois Car Accident Survivor Sues Teen Driver and His Father for Personal Injury

A 17-year-old Illinois teenager who survived a catastrophic St. Charles car accident is suing the driver and his dad for personal injury. Chelsea Mertz is seeking damages over $50,000 for her brain injury and broken jaw.

On June 17, Mertz and three teenagers were riding in a sport utility vehicle driven by 18-year-old Onofrio Lorusso (also known as Josh) when the SUV went off the road, hitting two trees. West Chicago resident Cameron Godee, 17, died from her injuries.

Because of the Illinois SUV accident, Mertz’s jaw was surgically shut. Because she underwent brain surgery, she has had to undergo rehabilitative therapy. It is unclear at this time whether there will be any permanent effects from her traumatic brain injury.

According to Mertz’s Illinois car accident complaint, Lorusso was driving on the wrong side of the road, going over 40 miles above the speed limit, as well as high and drunk. Mertz is also suing Lorusso’s father, who has the same name as his son, for allowing Josh to drive the teenagers home that night even though he’d been drinking.

The lawsuit contends that Lorusso’s father knew that his son had a history of driving while under the influence. Also named as a defendant in the Illinois personal injury lawsuit is Active Concrete. The company belongs to Lorusso’s father and the car involved in the auto accident was registered in its name.

Police say Lorusso’s blood alcohol content was over three times the legal drinking limit. The teen driver also tested positive for marijuana. He is charged with 4 counts of reckless homicide and 12 counts of aggravated DUI.

Suit filed in fatal St. Charles crash, Suburban Chicago News, August 7, 2009

Injured passenger sues driver in fatal STC crash, The Chronicle, August 6, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Traumatic Brain Injury, CDC

Broken Jaw, EmedicineHealth

Bookmark and Share

Posted On: August 6, 2009

Wrongful Death?: Wrong-Way Driver Who Killed 8 People Was Drunk and High, Say Police, but Her Family Disputes Allegations

Police say that the 36-year-old mother who drove the wrong-way on a New York road killing 8 people, herself, her 2-year-old daughter, her three young nieces, as well as three people in one of the vehicles she struck, had a blood-alcohol level that was over twice the legal limit at the time of the deadly multi-vehicle car crash.

They claim that Diane Schuler had more than 10 alcohol drinks in her system as well as a high level of the primary ingredient found in marijuana. They believe she’d been smoking the drug anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour before the deadly multi-vehicle crash. Her BAC was reportedly 0.19%--over double the 0.08% drinking limit and there was alcohol that was still undigested in her body. A broken bottle of Absolute vodka was in the minivan that she’d been driving.

Schuler stunned the nation on July 26 when her minivan drove for almost two miles the wrong-way up the Taconic State Parkway. She crashed into two vehicles, including an SUV carrying the three men who were killed in the deadly wrong-way driving accident. The three men are Guy Bastardi, his year- father Michael Bastardi, and their friend Michael Longo. Their families are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against whoever allowed Schuler to drive drunk.

Schuler’s son Bryan, 5, survived the crash with injuries.

Schuler’s husband, Daniel Schuler, however, says the toxicology reports are wrong. He says he’s never seen his wife drink during all of the years that they’ve known each other. His attorney held a news conference today claiming that Schuler was diabetic. The family thinks she suffered a stroke.

Police have ruled the car accident a homicide because Schuler caused the accident while driving the wrong way up the road.

Lawyer: N.Y. mom in wrong-way crash was diabetic, August 6, 2009

Wrong-way driver in N.Y. crash was drunk, LA Times, August 4, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Continue reading " Wrongful Death?: Wrong-Way Driver Who Killed 8 People Was Drunk and High, Say Police, but Her Family Disputes Allegations " »

Bookmark and Share

Posted On: August 5, 2009

Gov. Patrick Quinn to Sign Texting while Driving Ban into Illinois Law in Chicago

According to a spokesperson for the Illinois government, tomorrow Governor Patrick Quinn will sign a bill into law that will make it illegal for drivers in the state to text while driving. The new law would allow for the use of GPS devices on cell phones and let motorists pull off to the shoulder of the road while they text.

This is good news for people in Chicago and the rest of Illinois—especially after recent findings by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reported that texting while driving dramatically increases the chances that a driver will become involved in a motor vehicle crash.

In the wake of this news, as well as revelations that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration knew as far back as several years ago that using a cell phone while driving was dangerous—yet decided not to notify the public—US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced this week that there will be a “distracted driving summit.” The gathering is tentatively scheduled to take place in September.

Safety advocates are noting that this move shows that the federal government is beginning to increase its focus on the dangers that can arise when drivers text or talk on the cell phone while driving. They are hoping that the summit will result in action, such as new laws, and not just discourse.

Last week, a number of US lawmakers proposed holding back on federal highway funding unless states established laws regulating both texting and talking on the cell phone while driving.

To date, the District of Columbia and 5 US states have laws making it necessary for drivers to use hands-free cell phones when driving. 14 US states have banned texting while driving.

Secretary LaHood says that people need to be educated about the dangerous of texting and talking on the cell phone while driving so they can be clear about the potential dangers.

Already, too many people have sustained serious personal injuries in Chicago car accidents or become the victims of wrongful death because a motorist was texting or talking on a cell phone and driving at the same time.

Quinn plans to sign ban on texting while driving Thursday, Chicago Tribune, August 5, 2009

Federal Agency Plans Distracted Driving Forum, NY Times, August 4, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Cell Phone Driving Laws, GHSA

CyberDrive Illinois

Continue reading " Gov. Patrick Quinn to Sign Texting while Driving Ban into Illinois Law in Chicago " »

Bookmark and Share

Watch Our Videos

Recent Entries