Posted On: September 11, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Deadly Illinois Car Accident: Man Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison for DUI Crash that Killed Couple and Unborn Baby

In Illinois, 57-year-old Donald W. Canterbery was sentenced to 28 years in prison for pleading guilty to aggravated drunk driving and other criminal charges. Canterbury’s blood-alcohol rate was over three times the legal limit when the vehicle he was driving fatally struck the auto carrying Adam Zimmer and Lindsey Arnold-Zimmer on Illinois 111 last February. Arnold-Zimmer was pregnant at the time and her unborn son also died in the fatal car accident.

Police say that Canterbery, a Granite City resident, was driving 91 mph when he rear-ended the couple’s vehicle. Just four seconds before the deadly Illinois car wreck, his vehicle was moving at a speed of 151 mph.

Prior to the car accident, Canterbery was arrested five times for DUI. He had just been granted probation for the fifth drunk driving conviction in January. The 28-year prison sentence he has been ordered to serve is the maximum sentence allowed for this type of crime.

Although chronic drinking can be a result of the disease called alcoholism, this does not excuse a drunken person from the consequences of getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, driving drunk, and accidentally killing another person.

According to the American Council on Alcoholism, almost 16,000 people died because of drunk drivers in 2008, while more than 1 million people got hurt. Drivers with BAC’s exceeding the legal driving limit and/or who are repeat offenders are responsible for many of these injuries and deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that drunken motorists with BACs of .15% or more increase their chances of becoming involved in a fatal car crash by 300%. Nearly 2/3rds of alcohol-related deaths involved drivers who had BACs of .14% or more. Out of every eight drunk drivers, at least one of these motorists has a prior DWI/DUI conviction.

Repeat offenders are often people who suffer from a drinking problem. While alcoholism is a serious problem for the person who is struggling to cope with this disease, it becomes other people's problem when someone is injured or their loved one is killed by a drunken driver. Drunk driving is negligent driving and can be grounds for a Chicago personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

DUI Treatment Courts: Drunk Driving Prevention Through Intervention, American Council on Alcoholism, September 11, 2009

Repeat DUI offender gets 28 years for crash that killed couple, unborn son, BND, September 9, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Mothers Against Drunk Driving

DUI Conviction Penalty, Illinois State Police

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