April 8, 2011

Antioch Man Involved in Fatal Lake County, Illinois Car Accident Was Allegedly Text Messaging and Drunk

Police have charged David Maish with aggravated DUI and reckless homicide over the Lake County, Illinois car crash that killed a Round Lake man on February 6. The victim, Santiago Balderas, was walking on Illinois Highway 59 when the vehicle that Maish was driving hit him.

According to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office Drug Prosecution Division, Maish’s blood alcohol was .142 at the time of the Antioch, Illinois pedestrian accident. He also had the painkiller hydrocodone in his system.

Drunk driving and texting while driving are activities that when done separately can prove deadly. Place a cell phone in the hands of a driver who is drunk and operating a motor vehicle at the same time and the chances of involvement in a car crash causing serious injuries and fatalities goes up.

It doesn’t matter whether or not a motorist who was negligent intended to harm anyone. What matters is that they did and that it caused great harm and suffering.

If this has happened to someone you love, you should speak with an experienced Antioch, Illinois car accident lawyer immediately.

Recently, the estate of Louis Johnson filed an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit against Ranada Ridenhour. Johnson, 71, was killed in a traffic crash last November when her car hit his car, which was then hit by a truck. The complaint contends that Ridenhour was texting while driving and under the influence of drugs.

Spring Grove man faces reckless homicide charge, Northwest Herald, April 8, 2011

Fatal southwestern Ill. crash prompts lawsuit, Chicago Tribune, April 7, 2011

Officials: Antioch man texting, intoxicated when he struck pedestrian, Triblocal, April 8, 2011

Fatal Crash Prompts Lawsuit, CBS, April 7, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving, US DOT

Cyber Drive Illinois

More Blog Posts:
Should Illinois Texting While Driving Ban Also Prohibit Internet, Facebook, and Twitter Use?, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, March 11, 2011

Illinois Court of Claims Awards $8M to Family of Uhl Sisters Killed in 2007 Car Crash Caused by State Trooper Accused of Speeding, Texting, and Cell Phone Driving, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, January 20, 2011

Cook County Cell Phone Accident Causes Serious Injuries to Berwyn Pedestrian, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, September 24, 2010

Continue reading "Antioch Man Involved in Fatal Lake County, Illinois Car Accident Was Allegedly Text Messaging and Drunk" »

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March 29, 2011

$1M Chicago Car Accident Lawsuit Filed by Family of Teen Killed by Alleged Drunk Driver

Two months after 17-year-old Bahra Echmail was killed in a Chicago car accident, her mother is suing driver Francisco Campos for Illinois wrongful death. Campos, 22, was driving the SUV that Echmail was a passenger in when it drove through a stop sign and hit another auto on West North Shore Avenue on January 22.

Campos and four other people in the SUV sustained injuries. Police have since charged Campos with aggravated DUI causing accidental death.

If someone you love was killed in a Cook County car accident, you may be able to sue them for Chicago wrongful death. Filing a civil lawsuit won’t bring your loved one back and it can't make up for your loss. It can, however, allow you to recover damages for the liable party. Your Chicago personal injury case would be separate from any criminal charges filed against the negligent driver.

Unfortunately, people continue to drive drunk despite knowing that this type of negligent driving behavior can cause death and injury. Today, Lynwood village clerk Roel "Roy" Valle pleaded not guilty to one charge of reckless homicide and six counts of aggravated driving under the influence.

Valle was allegedly drunk when, after driving home from a political fundraiser and stopping at a bar in a village-issued car, he struck two cars while driving the wrong way up Illinois Highway 394. Police say that at the time, his BAC was 0.135%.

Mlikah Little, a 32-year-old Marquette Park mom of four, died in that Chicago car accident. Records show that Little’s family is suing the Village of Lynwood and Valle for her Chicago wrongful death.

Lynwood clerk pleads not guilty in DUI crash death, Chicago Tribune, March 29, 2011

Valle pleads not guilty in fatal crash, NWTimes, March 29, 2011

Family sues over crash that killed teen, Chicago Tribune, March 15, 2011

Teen Dead, 5 Hurt In Rogers Park Crash, CBS Chicago, January 22, 2011

Related Web Resources:

CyberDrive Illinois

More Blog Posts:
Fatal Hit-and-Run Chicago Car Accident on I-55 Involved Alleged Drunk Driver, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, March 24, 2011

17-Year-Old Dies in Chicago Car Crash that Leaves Five Others with Injuries, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, January 26, 2011

Chicago Car Accident Injures Two Teenagers, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, January 10, 2011

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March 24, 2011

Fatal Hit-and-Run Chicago Car Accident on I-55 Involved Alleged Drunk Driver

Police are charging Fernando Almaraz, 40, with aggravated drunk driving in the Chicago car crash that killed Enrique Lopez, 32, on March 17. Lopez, whose vehicle was experiencing mechanical problems, was standing on the side of the road on the I-55 (Stevenson) Expressway and waiting for a tow truck when he was struck by a pickup truck around 10:17 pm. The truck then left the Cook County auto accident scene.

According to one witness, the driver of the pickup cross the solid white “fog line” and hit Lopez. The pickup truck was discovered soon after in the 5400 block of South Ellis Avenue, where Almaraz is a resident.

The officers who apprehended him say that they smelled alcohol on his breath and there was an open can of alcohol in the car. They also said that his speech was slurred and his eyes were glassy and bloodshot. Per the police report, Almaraz failed all field sobriety tests and was taken into custody. His blood-alcohol content was reportedly twice the legal limit, and he admitted to drinking before the Chicago pedestrian accident happened.

Autopsy results indicate that Lopez died of multiple injuries from being hit by a car.

Drunk Driving
Every year, lives are lost and families are destroyed because there were people who drove drunk. Although drunk people usually are not fully in control of their faculties and are known to make poor decisions, this does not exempt them from responsibility or liability for their actions—especially if serious Chicago injuries or wrongful death result. Also, filing a Chicago car accident case or wrongful death lawsuit can allow you to recover the costs incurred from medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, and other damages suffered.

Prosecutors: Driver in fatal Stevenson crash was drunk, Chicago Tribune, March 19, 2011

Motorist charged with DUI in fatal hit-and-run, Sun-Times, March 19, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Stop Impaired Driving, NHTSA

More Blog Posts:
Mother of Chicago Car Accident Victim Killed Last Thanksgiving Files Cook County Wrongful Death Lawsuit, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, November 24, 2010

Bolingbrook, Illinois Car Accident Kills Sleeping Chicago Woman as SUV Crashes into Her Bedroom, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, November 16, 2010

Drunk Drivers Can Cause Catastrophic Chicago Car Accident Injuries, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Blog, August 27, 2010

Continue reading "Fatal Hit-and-Run Chicago Car Accident on I-55 Involved Alleged Drunk Driver" »

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January 10, 2011

Chicago Car Accident Injures Two Teenagers

Two teens sustained injuries on Wednesday when they were hit in a Chicago pedestrian by a car that had driven onto the sidewalk where they were standing. The vehicle then proceeded to crash into a restaurant.

The 15-year-old girl who was struck broke her ankle while the 16-year-old girl sustained minor injuries. Also injured in the Chicago car crash was 61-year-old George Corso, who was driving the car that hit the two teens. Corso has been ticketed for negligent driving.

In other recent Cook County traffic crash news, a 70-year-old man was killed in a Chicago pedestrian accident on December 27, 2010. At the time of the Chicago car accident, the victim, Raymond Veloz, was exchanging information with another motorist over another accident that had just happened. The driver of the third vehicle was cited for failing to avoid hitting a pedestrian. The two drivers who had been involved in separate collisions with Veloz said that the sun had temporarily made it difficult for them to see the road.

Just the day before, 25-year-old Angeline De Leon was killed when the car she was riding in struck a tree in Chicago’s Medical Village neighborhood. Also injured in the Chicago car accident were the driver, 23-year-old Brandon Reed, and a four-year-old boy. Reed, who was admitted to the hospital in critical condition, has since been charged with a misdemeanor DUI. He also received a ticket for driving on a revoked license. More charges may be pending.

Lane Tech students hit by car crossing street, Sun-Times, January 6, 2011

Driver in fatal crash charged with DUI, Chicago Tribune, December 29, 2010

Man killed in South Chicago crash, Chicago Breaking News, December 27, 2010

Related Web Resources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Continue reading "Chicago Car Accident Injures Two Teenagers" »

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November 24, 2010

Mother of Chicago Car Accident Victim Killed Last Thanksgiving Files Cook County Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A year after Oak Lawn pedestrian Elias Nunez was fatally struck by a drunk driver last Thanksgiving, his mother is suing motorist Anthony Morales for Chicago wrongful death.

The tragic Cook County pedestrian accident happened at around 3am while Nunez was attempting to push his auto, which had become disabled. Four others suffered injuries. Morales has been charged with felony aggravated drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident, and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Nunez’s mother, Theresa Nunez-Wescott, is also suing The Club, the bar that served Morales alcohol prior to the tragic Chicago car accident, and its owners for her son’s wrongful death.

Driving Safely On Thanksgiving
The National Safety Commission says that Thanksgiving weekend is considered the most dangerous holiday of the year for motorists and can result in thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths. 389 people died during Thanksgiving 2008. 12 people were killed in Illinois traffic crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday last year. Nine of the victims were not using seatbelts. Five of the deaths were drunk driver-related.

In addition to heavier traffic and the compulsion to speed that can arise when people are headed on a road trip during a long weekend, there may be motorists who have had too much to drink or may be feeling drowsy after eating a heavy turkey dinner who may find themselves unable to drive safely.

A Few Safe Driving Tips for the Holiday:
• Use a seatbelt
• Don’t drive drunk
• Don’t speed
• Don’t drive while drowsy
• Don’t text or talk on the phone
• Pay attention to the road
• Adjust your driving to the traffic and road conditions

Lawsuit filed in Oak Lawn man's crash death, Southtown Star, November 24, 2010

Area police warn drivers to be safe this holiday, Rockford Register Star, November 23, 2010

Chicago-Area Car Accidents Over Thanksgiving Weekend Kill at least Six and Injure Several Others, Chicago Car Accident Attorneys, December 11, 2009

Related Web Resources:


Holiday driving tips to help hit the road, CNN, November 23, 2010

Continue reading "Mother of Chicago Car Accident Victim Killed Last Thanksgiving Files Cook County Wrongful Death Lawsuit" »

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November 16, 2010

Bolingbrook, Illinois Car Accident Kills Sleeping Chicago Woman as SUV Crashes into Her Bedroom

A 48-year-old Chicago woman sustained fatal injuries after she was struck by an SUV that slammed through the wall of her first floor apartment early Saturday. Josefina Prospero was pronounced dead at the Will County, Illinois car crash site.

Prospero and her significant other, Juan Nocolas Bernal, had been sleeping in the bed when the vehicle crashed into their bedroom. Bernal sustained minor injuries.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the driver of the SUV, 17-year-old Luis V. Benito, has been charged with four counts of aggravated driving under the influence. WGNTV says that Benito is also charged with one count of reckless homicide. He and his passenger reportedly tried to flee the Will County, Illinois traffic crash site but were apprehended by police.

At the time of the Bolingbrook accident, Benito’s blood-alcohol level was .204. This is over two times the legal limit. Assistant Will County State's Attorney Debbie Mill says that prior to the motor vehicle crash, Benito, who was in the parking club of a Rancho Santa Fe nightclub, allegedly drove his vehicle at a nightclub bouncer, who had flashed a light at him. The bouncer was able to get out of the way.

Teens and Drunk Driving
Driving while drunk is dangerous for any driver. Teens, however, with their lack of driving experience, ability to get easily distracted, and inability fully grasp their lack of invincibility, can be especially dangerous on the road when under the influence. Over 3,000 teens are killed in drunk driving crashes each year. This doesn’t even account for the children and adults that end up dying because they were involved in a car crash involving a drunk teen driver.

Drunk driving is negligent driving and can be grounds for a Will County, Illinois car accident lawsuit if someone gets hurt or dies.

Prosecutor: Teen in fatal crash nearly ran over nightclub bouncer, Chicago Tribune, November 15, 2010

Teen Driver Charged with Homicide in Bolingbrook Accident, WGNTV, November 14, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Teen Drivers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CyberDrive, Illinois

Alcohol, Drinking and Driving

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September 16, 2010

NHTSA Reports 911 Illinois Traffic Fatalities in 2009

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes Research Note is out, and our Chicago car accident lawyers are happy to report that the number of Illinois traffic deaths dropped last year. While there were 1,043 Illinois motor vehicle fatalities in 2008, 911 Illinois traffic deaths occured in 2009. 319 of those fatalities were alcohol-related.

The decline in highway deaths was also reflected nationally. There were 33,808 US motor vehicle traffic crash deaths last year—the lowest number of fatalities in 60 years. Consider that there were 37,423 traffic deaths in 2008. That’s a 9.7% drop. Even the number of US motorcyclist fatalities, which has been going up for the last 11 years, finally saw a decline. There were 4,462 motorcycle crash deaths last year, down from 5,312 fatalities in 2008.

While any decline in traffic deaths is always progress made in saving lives, there are always more lives that can and should be saved. There also continue to be thousands nationally and hundreds throughout the state that must contend with catastrophic injuries, costly medical expenses, the loss of a loved one, and other damages. Our Chicago car crash law firm would be happy to evaluate whether you have a case for Cook County personal injury or wrongful death.

More 2009 Motor Vehicle Crash Facts:
• 503 large truck fatalities
• 4,092 pedestrian deaths
• 630 pedalcyclist fatalities
• 2,217,000 traffic accident injuries
• 10,839 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities

Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes, NHTSA (PDF)

U.S. Traffic Deaths at Lowest Level Since 1950, NHTSA, September 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Department of Transportation

CyberDrive Illinois

September 7, 2010

Chicago Car Accidents Injures Kills Six People and Injures at Least Two Dozen Others Over Labor Day Weekend

According to myFoxChicago.com, numerous Chicago motor vehicle injuries and deaths occurred over the Labor Day weekend, including:

• On Saturday, a Chicago motorcycle accident claimed the life of Lyons resident Lissette Loncola, who was a passenger on the bike. Several other people were injured.

• Also on Saturday, a three-vehicle Chicago car accident on the Northwest Side injured at least eight people. Oscar Reyes was cited for negligent driving, leaving an accident scene, failure to report the auto crash, and neglecting to stay in the lane.

• A Chicago pedestrian accident sent four people, including an 11-year-old girl, a 15-year-old boy, and a 12-year-old girl to the hospital after they were struck by a stolen 1999 Chrysler 300. The people riding in the car fled the crash site.

• 67-year-old Lual Mang died from injuries she sustained during a Glendale Heights car accident on Sunday.

• Also on Sunday, a Rogers Park bicycle accident involving a Mini Cooper claimed the life of 67-year-old man.

• A fiery Englewood car crash on Sunday claimed the life of one female motorist, whose vehicle hit a curb or a viaduct wall before hitting another auto and bursting into flames. The driver died at the Chicago car accident site.

• Five people, including at least three teens, were hospitalized after an SUV rollover crash on Lake Shore Drive. Speed was a likely factor.

• A multi-vehicle Chicago car crash at West Belmont Avenue and North Pulaski Road left at least three people with critical injuries.

• On Monday night, a Des Plaines bicycle accident claimed a 52-year-old cyclist’s life after his bike collided with a vehicle in the curb lane.

• A man was flown to the hospital after he was injured in a head-on Chicago car accident close to Fox Lake last night.

Holiday Weekend Crashes Kill 6, Injure Dozens More, myFoxChicago, September 7, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Traffic Accidents, Nolo

Car Accidents, Justia

Continue reading "Chicago Car Accidents Injures Kills Six People and Injures at Least Two Dozen Others Over Labor Day Weekend" »

August 27, 2010

Drunk Drivers Can Cause Catastrophic Chicago Car Accident Injuries

According to a 2008 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey, at least 1 in 12 drivers surveyed say they drive drunk at least once year. 1 in 5 admitted that when they drove under the influence they did so within 2 hours of consuming an alcoholic beverage. This, despite the fact that 4 out of 5 of the 6,999 motorists surveyed consider driving drunk to be a serious threat to safety. NHTSA Administrator David Strickland says it is clear that more needs to be done so that people that know drunk driving is dangerous will stop doing it.

According to the US Department of Transportation, 1/3rd of all deadly US auto accidents involve a drunk driver. The auto death rate could be cut significantly if people stopped driving drunk.

The NHTSA survey found that about 17.2 million Americans have gotten behind the steering wheel of a vehicle even though they suspected that their BAC was over the legal limit. 8% of people have gotten in a car driven by someone that they suspected was drunk. 40% believe that they can drive after having 3 drinks. 11% think that they can still drive after 5 drinks.

It goes without saying that if you or someone you love was injured in a Chicago car accident involving a drunk driver that you believe caused the crash, there is a good chance you may have grounds for a Chicago injury case against him/her. Most drivers never intend to hurt anyone when driving under the influence, but unfortunately, injuries and deaths happen.

Just recently, one adult was injured and the allegedly drunken driver’s son, age 4, was killed in a Chicago car crash that occurred on August 15 at Fullerton and Kostner. Police say that Letecia Medel, 24, had a blood alcohol level of .151 when her vehicle did not stop at a red light and rear-ended a Honda Civic that was stopped. Her vehicle then drove into the next lane where it hit a Chevrolet Tahoe. The impact from the traffic collision also caused the Honda to strike another vehicle before it ended up against a building.

Medina, Jonathan, her 2-year-old son, and her husband fled the Cook County car accident site. At the hospital, Jonathan, who was suffering from a lacerated liver and numerous contusions, was pronounced dead.

Woman charged in DUI crash that killed 4-year-old, Pioneer Local, August 23, 2010

Government study: 1 in 12 drivers admit driving drunk, USA Today, August 26, 2010

Related Web Resources:
DUI Fact Book, Cyber Drive Illinois (PDF)

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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August 13, 2010

$1 Million South Elgin Car Accident Lawsuit Settlement Reached Between West Chicago Strip Club and Families of Pregnant Woman, Her Unborn Child, and Club Patron

The Diamonds Gentlemen's Club, a West Chicago strip club, has settled the Kane County, Illinois wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of April Simmons, 27, and John Chiariello, 25, for $1 million. Simmons, who was pregnant at the time, and Chiariello died from injuries they sustained in January 2006 when they were involved in a South Elgin car crash with John Homatas. Chiariello was a passenger in Homatas’s vehicle. Also killed in the Illinois car accident was Simmon’s unborn baby.

According to the Illinois wrongful death lawsuit, Chiariello and Homatas were thrown out of the strip club after getting drunk. The club’s employees put Homatas in the car and he and Chiariello drove off. Some 15 minutes later, Homatas crashed his vehicle head-on into Simmons’ SUV.

Although the club had initially argued that it shouldn’t be held liable for Homatas’ actions since it doesn’t serve alcohol (it has a bring your own liquor policy), earlier this year the Illinois Supreme Court said that the strip club was at least somewhat accountable for the Kane County car crash.

From the $1 million settlement, which is the most that the club’s insurance allows, $800,000 will go to Simmons’s family. The remaining $200,000 will go to Chiariello’s family. Homatas, who is serving a 12-year prison term for his convictions for reckless homicide and aggravated DUI, settled the South Elgin wrongful death case against him for $200,000, which is also the maximum allowed under his insurance policy.

There may be more than one party who should be held liable for your Chicago car accident injuries.

West Chicago strip club settles DUI suit for $1 million, Chicago Tribune, August 12, 2010

Families Can Sue West Chicago Strip Club for Fatal Illinois Car Crash, ChicagoCarAccidentAttorneysBlog, March 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Illinois Supreme Court Ruling (PDF)


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June 29, 2010

Two Chicago Teenagers Killed in Wilmette Car Accident After Birthday Celebration

Friends and family are mourning the deaths of two “best buddies” in a Cook County car accident. Veronica Rojas, who was celebrating her 18th birthday, and Natalie Stygar, 17, died early Monday when the Nissan Maxima that they were riding went off the road, hit a fire hydrant, and broadsided a tree. Rojas was the mother of a two-year-old boy.

The driver of the Nissan, Szymon Zawadzki, sustained non-threatening injuries and was also hospitalized. Another passenger, a 15-year-old girl, sustained critical injuries, while 18-year-old passenger in the front seat was treated at Evanston NorthShore hospital before being released. All of the vehicle occupants were from Chicago.

Meantime, Zawadzki, 20, is charged with two counts of aggravated DUI resulting in death, two counts of reckless homicide, one count of driving under the influence, one count of aggravated DUI resulting in great bodily injury, one count of improper lane usage, driving without insurance, and one count of failure to reduce speed.

It is illegal in the US for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. Driving drunk, regardless of the age of the driver, can prove fatal. A driver who caused serious injury or death because he/she was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence can be sentenced to time in prison. He or she can also be held financially liable in civil court for the Chicago car accident.

Due to their inexperience, most young drivers are already at higher risk than their older counterparts of getting involved in a Cook County car crash. Driving under the influence of alcohol, which clouds judgment, slows reflexes, and impairs the senses, only makes it harder for a young, inexperienced motorist to maintain control of a vehicle—especially during emergency situations.

Driver charged with DUI in deaths of two women in Wilmette, Chicago Sun-TImes, June 29, 2010

2 Chicago teens killed in crash after birthday celebration, Chicago Tribune, June 28, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Teen driver risks in high gear over summer, USA Today, June 21, 2010

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Continue reading "Two Chicago Teenagers Killed in Wilmette Car Accident After Birthday Celebration" »

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May 29, 2010

Drive Carefully to Prevent Cook County Car Accidents: AAA Chicago Says 1.5 Million Motorists to Drive from Illinois Over Memorial Weekend

According to AAA Chicago, approximately 1.5 million people will be driving from Illinois over the holiday weekend. While a long weekend is always a wonderful opportunity for friends and family to get together, the Illinois Department of Transportation is cautioning that this weekend is also one of the deadliest periods on the roads.

According to the IDOT, 30 people died in 17 Illinois traffic crashes during the Memorial weekend last year—that’s about 9 deaths a day. While law enforcement agencies have stepped up their patrols and police enforcement to hopefully keep the Illinois car accident death toll down this year, it is still up to drivers to operate their vehicles carefully, wear there seat belts, and refrain from disobeying the traffic laws, speeding, driving drunk, talking on the cell phone, text messaging, or following too closely.

AAA offers a number of tips for safe travel over the Memorial Day weekend, including:

• Don’t drive aggressively
• Make sure your car is properly serviced before heading off
• Don’t keep stepping on the brakes
• Program your GPS before you get in the car not while you are stuck in traffic

Even though it is a holiday weekend, if you were injured in a Chicago car accident that was caused by another party’s reckless or negligent driving or because a vehicle malfunctioned or a traffic light didn’t work properly, it is important that you report the incident and speak with a Cook County motor vehicle crash lawyer about your case.

More people expected to travel this holiday weekend, SunTimes, May 28, 2010

Related Web Resources:

CyberDrive, Illinois

Continue reading "Drive Carefully to Prevent Cook County Car Accidents: AAA Chicago Says 1.5 Million Motorists to Drive from Illinois Over Memorial Weekend" »

May 14, 2010

Chicago Car Accident that Killed One Pedestrian and Injured at Least Eight Other People Leads to DUI Charges

Hector Ramirez is charged with aggravated DUI in a Southwest Side car crash involving a death, reckless homicide, aggravated DUI without a driver’s license, operating a vehicle without insurance, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, driving without a valid license, and not using due care for a pedestrian in a roadway. The 32-year-old is accused of causing a Chicago car accident that involved his vehicle hitting three pedestrians and three other autos on May 7.

One of the pedestrians, 25-year-old Jamie Castillo, was later pronounced dead at a Cook County hospital. Three adults were admitted to hospitals in serious-to-critical condition. Four others were admitted in good-to-fair condition. One young child was admitted to Stroger Hospital in fair condition. Ramirez, who was placed under arrest, was taken to a hospital after he complained of chest pains.

Chicago Car Accidents
Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of catastrophic car accidents. A driver who decides to drive drunk is behaving carelessly and recklessly while endangering people’s lives. Unfortunately, even though people know better, there are those who still choose to drive while intoxicated. Often, it is the usually the people who weren’t driving drunk that end up suffering the most. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 434 Illinois drunk driving deaths in 2008.

On May 3, in another Chicago, Illinois car collision, Manuel Figueroa was waiting to enter the right lane of southbound I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) when he was hit by a Berwyn man in a GMC pickup truck who had lost control of his vehicle and swerved across three lanes. Figueroa died later that day. Police believe the Berwyn driver was drunk when he caused the South Side car wreck.

DUI charges filed against man in fatal Southwest Side crash, Chicago Sun-Times, May 9, 2010

DUI Suspected in Fatal Stevenson Crash, MyFoxChicago, May 4, 2010

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Illinois

Drunk Driving, Justia

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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April 20, 2010

Driver Charged in Chicago Car Crash Involving UPS Semi-Truck That Claimed Passenger’s Life

Adrian Tellez has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor driving while under the influence, operating a motor vehicle without insurance, and failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident in the catastrophic Chicago car crash that claimed the life of his passenger, 25-year-old Rafael Lopez.

The Cook County auto accident happened at around 2:30 am on April 1 on the Near West Side. Tellez was driving a 2005 Ford Taurus that collided with a UPS semi-truck, which was trying to turn left. According to police, the 21-year-old’s BAC was .16, which is two times the legal driving limit.

The Chicago Fire Department was called to the traffic crash site to extricate some of the auto accident victims. Five people were taken to hospitals—two of them in serious to critical condition.

According to autopsy results, Lopez’s death was caused by multiple injuries from an auto hitting a truck. His death was ruled an accident.

Chicago Drunk Driving Accidents
Our Chicago car accident lawyers cannot stress enough the dangers of driving drunk and the degree of injury risk that this irresponsible activity poses for people. Drunk driving is a senseless and unnecessary way to get hurt, destroy one’s life, and accidentally inflict great harm, pain, and suffering on others.

Just last week, four women were taken to local hospitals after their car drove into a business in a shopping plaza. The car’s driver, 24-year-old Sharlie Shaffer, sustained serious injuries. She is charged with drunk driving.

On March 31, a Wayne man pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and drunk driving in the June 2009 St. Charles, Illinois car accident that claimed the life of West Chicago resident Cameron Godee, age 18. The driver, Onofrio "Josh" Lorusso, is facing a maximum of 14 years in prison.

The 19-year-old lost control of his car while driving his SUV at a speed of approximately 77 mph in a 25 mph zone at around 3:20 AM. The vehicle struck two trees and a mailbox.

Lorusso’s BAC was nearly three times the legal limit. Two passengers riding in the backseat were also injured. Godee and Lorusso had been best friends since they were third graders.

Four women hurt when drunk driver crashes into business, WBBM780, April 14, 2010

Man pleads guilty in crash that killed best friend, Chicago Tribune, March 31, 2010

Motorist twice the legal limit in fatal Near West Side wreck: cops, Sun-Times, April 6, 2010

Related Web Resources:
CyberDrive Illinois

Influenced Driving, Illinois State Police

Continue reading "Driver Charged in Chicago Car Crash Involving UPS Semi-Truck That Claimed Passenger’s Life" »

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March 19, 2010

Families Can Sue West Chicago Strip Club for Fatal Illinois Car Crash

The Illinois Supreme Court says that the families of April Simmons and John Chiariello can sue the Diamonds Gentleman’s Club and parent company On Stage Productions Inc. for the two car accident victims’ wrongful deaths. Chiariello, a St. Charles resident, and Simmons, who is from Yorkville, were killed in a 2006 drunk driving crash on Route 25 on January 4, 2006. Simmons was pregnant at the time and her unborn baby also died.

The drunk driver, Wayne resident John Homatas, was high and drunk when he drive away from the DuPage County strip club and crashed into Simmons’ SUV. Chiariello was riding in the car with him during the Illinois car accident.

Legal representatives for On Stage have argued that the company could not be held liable under the Dram Shop Act, which holds parties that serve alcohol liable for drunken patrons’ actions, because the strip club doesn’t serve alcohol.

However, the plaintiffs’ families argued that the club’s employees put Homatas in the driver’s seat of his Jeep even though he had thrown up in the strip club bathroom. Also, even though the club is a BYOB spot, the strip club provides glasses, ice, and mixers.

The Illinois Supreme Court is sending the Kane County wrongful death lawsuit back to a lower court so that the case can move forward. Homatas, now 29, is serving a 12-year prison term for his role in the fatal Illinois car accident.

Drunk Driving
Drunk driving can be deadly. Not only is it a motorist’s responsibility not to drive while drunk, but if workers at a club or the hosts of an event see that someone is drunk, they definitely should not help them get into the driver’s seat of any car.

Most people never intend to kill someone when they are drunk, but unfortunately, that is what can happen. Intentional or not, losing someone you love because a driver was drunk or under the influence of drugs is a devastating experience.

Illinois Supreme Court rules families can sue in fatal crash, The Chronicle, March 19, 2010

Court says strip club can be sued in fatal Route 25 crash, SuburbanChicagoNews, March 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Read the Illinois Supreme Court's Ruling (PDF)

I(235 ILCS 5/) Liquor Control Act of 1934, Illinois General Assembly

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February 19, 2010

Driver that Struck 6-Year-Old Jada Washington in Fatal Chicago Pedestrian Accident Was Allegedly High on Cocaine and Marijuana

Police have charged 48-year-old Eddie Lumpkin with aggravated DUI and reckless homicide for causing the catastrophic Chicago, Illinois car crash that claimed the life of 6-year-old girl Jada Washington and seriously injured her aunt Tiuette Richardson. The two Chicago pedestrians were crossing the street at Ashland and 74th at around 6:30 on Tuesday when they were struck by Lumpkin, who was driving a van.

According to prosecutors, the young girl’s body struck the windshield before flying into the street. Jada was pronounced dead at University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. Richardson injured her shoulder blade and leg, as well as fractured her skull.

Authorities say that prior to the South Side auto accident Lumpkin had been ticked at least 40 times for traffic offenses. Speeding, running red lights, running stop signs, and failing to exercise caution around pedestrians were among the many violations he’d been cited for. He was convicted six times but the majority of tickets against him were dismissed.

Chicago DUI Accidents
Even though people know how dangerous it is to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are motorists who still get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while intoxicated or high. When this happens, the motorist becomes a danger to everyone on the road.

It is bad enough to be the victim of a pedestrian accident let alone get hurt in one that involves a drunken or drugged driver whose vision, reflexes, and ability to stop a vehicle have been severely impaired. While most drunk and drugged drivers never intend to injure or kill anyone, unfortunately there are those who end up doing just that. If his happens, you should speak with an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer right away.

As for the people who dare to drink/get high and drive, our Chicago, Illinois pedestrian accident law firm wants to remind you not to be so reckless. In a city with such good public transportation and so many hotels, there is no excuse for why you need to ever get behind the driver’s seat of a car when you are under the influence.

Prosecutors say motorist charged with DUI in child’s death had cocaine in his system, Chicago Tribune, February 19, 2010

Motorist in girl's death collected at least 40 traffic tickets, ChicagoBreakingNews, February 17, 2010

Related Web Resources:
What is Drugged Driving?, National Institute on Drug Abuse

CyberDrive Illinois

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January 11, 2010

Orland Park Man Charged in Cook County Drunk Driving Crash that Killed His Ex-Girlfriend

22-year-old Nick Sord is charged with aggravated drunk driving and reckless homicide for the Cook County car crash that killed his passenger early on December 31, 2008. Sord, an Orland Park restaurateur, crashed his Mercedes SUV into a pole after a night out.

The SUV drove into a ditch before partially rolling over. According to the Cook County Sheriff’s office, Sord’s BAC was nearly three times the legal limit.

Mejia, a New Lenox resident and a University of Illinois at Chicago student, sustained multiple injuries before she as pronounced dead at a Harvey Hospital. Sord was treated and later released from an Oak Lawn hospital for cuts and a broken wrist.

Sord and Mejia were formerly used to date but her mother says they broke up in August. Their families did not approve of their relationship.

Cook County Car Accident Cases
A person accused of driving drunk can face criminal charges and be sued for Cook County personal injury or wrongful death if someone was injured or killed. Driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous and destroys the lives of the victims, their families, and the drunk driver, who not only faces prison time but must live with the guilt of knowing that someone else died because of the motorist’s recklessness and carelessness.

Just last week, Ali Hosseini, a man who was charged with drunk driving after he allegedly struck a motorcyclist in 2007, now faces upgraded charges of aggravated DUI and reckless homicide after the victim died on January 2. Keith Kreinik underwent over 20 surgeries and spent over two years in treatment for the injuries he sustained during the Chicago car accident.

Hosseini, who had been free on bond, was taken back into custody. His bond was increased to $100,000. He was allegedly under the influence of heroin, alcohol, codeine, and morphine at the time of the tragic Northwest Side crash.

High alcohol level cited in fatal crash, Chicago Tribune, January 2, 2010

Man charged in fatal crash, Southtown Star, January 2, 2010

Bond raised for man accused of DUI in 2007 crash, Chicago Breaking News, January 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Motor Vehicle Safety, CDC

Impaired Driving, NHTSA

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January 9, 2010

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Wrong-Way Drunk Driving Accident that Killed Eight on Taconic Parkway

Nearly six months after 36-year-old Diane Schuler drove the wrong-way on the Taconic Parkway while she was allegedly drunk and high, the family of two of the eight victims that died is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against her estate. The tragic car crash, which occurred on July 26, claimed the lives of Schuler, three of her nieces, her two-year-old daughter, 81-year-old Michael Bastardi, his 49-year-old son Michael, and their friend 74-year-old Daniel Longo. Schuler’s 5-year-old son Bryan survived the wrong-way car crash with serious injuries, including severe head trauma.

The motor vehicle accident made national headlines after Schuler drove the wrong-way for nearly two miles, disregarding signs and ignoring the warnings of other drivers. According to a toxicology report, Schuler had marijuana in her system and the equivalent of 10 liquor shots in her bloodstream. She and the kids were coming home from a camping trip when the auto collision happened. A broken bottle of vodka was discovered in the minivan’s wreckage.

The wrongful death lawsuit accuses Schuler of reckless, wanton, and willful actions, driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and disregarding other motorists' warnings that she was driving her minivan the wrong-way. According to the civil complaint, the Bastardis experienced mental trauma, terror, pain, suffering, and serious personal injuries prior to their death. Schuler’s brother Warren Hance is also a wrongful death defendant. He owned the minivan that Schuler was driving.

Schuler’s husband Daniel refuses to accept autopsy findings that his wife was drunk and high. He says an undiagnosed medical problem may have caused her erratic behavior that day. However, according to one report, he told police his wife occasionally smoked pot to alleviate stress.

Suit Filed in Wrong-Way Crash That Killed 8 on Taconic, NY Times, December 10, 2009

Loyal To The End: Grieving Schuler Denies Reports, WCBSTV, August 7, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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December 22, 2009

Lockport Police Officer Accused of Causing Deadly Chicago Car Crash Had BAC of .223%

Assistant State’s Attorney John Carroll of Cook County says that Lockport Police Officer Edward Stapinski’s blood alcohol was .223 when he allegedly caused a three-auto crash on the Stevenson Expressway on Sunday night. Stapinski, 34, was not on duty when the deadly collision happened. Killed in the tragic Chicago car accident was Man K. Wong, 29.

According Illinois State Police, Stapinski was headed south on Interstate Highway 55 close to Cicero Avenue when his vehicle drove onto the left shoulder and hit the concrete median barrier. It then went over the barrier, striking Wong’s auto in a head-on crash. Next, the off-duty cop’s auto rolled over, hitting a third vehicle.

According to witnesses, the off-duty police driver was operating his vehicle at a speed of about 80 mph when the deadly Cook County car accident happened. Police who were at the scene say that the 34-year-old cop exhibited slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and smelled of alcohol. Stapinski declined to be tested for alcohol while at the crash site but he took a blood tested at the hospital where he was admitted for his injuries.

Wong was pronounced dead in Mt. Sinai Hospital. The third motorist was not injured. On Monday night, Stapinski was charged with drunken driving and reckless homicide.

Illinois Drunk Driving Accidents
While the number of Illinois drunk driving deaths has gone down (439 alcohol-related Illinois car crashes in 2007 and 362 drunk driving fatalities in 2008), drunk driving accidents continue to claim too many lives. A drunken motorist who causes a deadly car crash can be held liable for Illinois personal injury or wrongful death.

Especially during the holiday season, when people are busy going from one holiday event to the next and traveling to spend time with family, our Chicago, Illinois car accident law firm would like to remind you to refrain from driving while drunk.

Off-duty Lockport cop charged with reckless homicide, DUI, Chicago Tribune, December 22, 2009

Lockport Officer Was 3 Times Legal Limit, WBBM780, December 22, 2009

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Intensive Holiday Drunk & Impaired Driving Crackdown & Advertising Blitz, NHTSA, December 7, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Fatalities and Fatality Rates in Alcohol- Impaired-Driving Crashes by State, 2007-2008, NHTSA, December 2009 (PDF)

DUI Information for Adults, Illinois State Police

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October 16, 2009

Park Ridge Car Accident Leaves Two Dead and Four Injured

Police have arrested one of the drivers involved in Sunday’s Park Ridge car accident with aggravated DUI. If convicted, Ibrahim Y. Yaro, a Chicago resident, could face up to 28 years in prison.

The deadly Cook County car crash in the Chicago suburb took place after 2am at Riverside Drive and Oakton Street. Killed in the Park Ridge traffic accident where Des Plaines resident Younan Chalabi, 25, and Morton Grove resident Christine Merza, 37. The two of them where passengers in the Mercedes that was involved in the Illinois car wreck with a Nissan.

According to the Nissan’s driver, she had a green light when her car drove into the intersection. Her auto hit the Mercedes’s passenger side. The drivers of the Nissan and the Mercedes and two other passengers were taken to hospitals for non-life threatening injuries.

Aggravated driving under the influence charges were filed in another Chicago area car accident. The Chicago car crash took place on the North Side on August 1 at around 3:25am at the Wilson and Ashland avenues intersection.

47-year-old Raquel Wright was charged with aggravated DUI causing the accidental death of Alexander Foamette, a 24-year-old motorcyclist. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office says that Foamette died from multiple injuries.

At the Chicago motorcycle accident site, Wright reportedly told police she didn’t see the motorcyclist. She accused the rider of red light running. After she failed a field sobriety test she was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center for further testing.

Lisa Hofstra, the charge nurse at the Chicago hospital, says that the police officer that asked her to perform the blood test falsely arrested her when she told him that Wright need to be checked into the facility. Hofstra filed a Chicago police brutality lawsuit accusing the cop and the city of Chicago of civil rights violations.

DUI charges filed in fatal crash which sparked lawsuit against city, Chicago Sun-Times, October 15, 2009

Arrest made in fatal Park Ridge crash, Sun-Times, October 13, 2009

2 dead, 4 injured in Park Ridge accident, Chicago Sun-Times, October 11, 2009

Relate Web Resources:
DUI Conviction Penalties, Illinois State Police

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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September 11, 2009

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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September 3, 2009

More Illinois Car Crash Deaths Involving Alcohol and Low Seat Belt Use Occur at Night, Says IDOT

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, some 500 people in the state died in alcohol-related car accidents in 2007. In an effort to decrease the number of drunk driving deaths this year, over 300 local police agencies are stepping up their efforts to crack down on motorists who are driving drunk or not using seat belts—especially over the holiday weekend.

There will be more police patrols on the street and officers will focus on the night hours. Last week, the IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety reported a significant difference in the motor vehicle deaths that happen late at night than during the other times of the day.

While Illinois State Police are quick to point out that driving drunk at any time of day or night is never appropriate or acceptable, the latest data indicates that the chances of becoming involved in an Illinois drunk driving accident rises dramatically at night.

Almost 7 out of 10 traffic deaths that took place between 12am and 3am involved a driver who was drunk. Less than 3 of the 10 car crash deaths that occurred at this time were people who were using seat belts. This 3-hour period is considered the deadliest time of the day to be riding a vehicle on an Illinois road.

During the day, alcohol was a factor in under 2 out of every 10 Illinois traffic deaths. Almost 6 out of the 10 fatality victims had been properly restrained.

Our Chicago car crash law firm has said time and again that drunk driving is negligent driving and can be grounds for an Illinos personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death case if a motorist was careless enough to drink and drive and someone was killed or hurt as a result. While it is the responsibility of vehicle occupants to use their seat belts, there are Chicago auto injuries and deaths that happen because of products liability. In order to save a life, a seat belt must be free from defects and cannot malfunction during an Illinois traffic accident.

Labor Day DUI crackdown set, Chicago Tribune, September 3, 2009

IDOT data reports late-night hours as the deadliest time on Illinois roadways, Illinois Gov, August 24, 2009

Related Web Resources:
2007 Drunk Driving Statistics

Cops target U.S. 41 for drunken drivers, Post-Tribune, September 3, 2009

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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

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July 27, 2009

Chicago Drunk Driving Accident Injures Four and Kills One

Four people sustained critical injuries and one person was killed in a Chicago car accident involving a drunk driver in Woodlawn on Sunday night. The person that died was a passenger in the car driven by an alleged drunk driver, who drove into another vehicle and then a light pole, which then landed on a 9-year-old pedestrian. The child is reportedly in stable condition at the University of Chicago Corner Children’s Hospital. Another car accident victim reportedly sustained a broken arm.

In another Chicago car accident on Sunday, two police officers ended up in the hospital after the squad car they were riding in was broadsided by a Honda. The driver, 20, is accused of ignoring a traffic control device at Elston and Albany and t-boning the squad car. Aggravated DUI charges against the motorist may be pending, in addition to driving without insurance and driving without a license charges.

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration roadside survey, in 2007 2.2% of drivers had a BAC of .08% or greater—a significant decline compared to the number of drunk drivers (7.5% were legally drunk) that were surveyed in 1973. Despite the fact that there are less drunk drivers on US roads than their used to be, drunk driving is still a cause of way too many Chicago car crashes.

Drunk driving is negligent driving and a drunk driver can be sued for Chicago personal injury if he or she causes serious injury or wrongful death during an Illinois car accident.

The recent NHTSA survey also went on to note that for the first time, 16.3% of the nighttime weekend drivers surveyed tested positive for drugs, with cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine the most commonly drugs detected. Not only can taking drugs impair a driver’s ability to drive safely, but these narcotics can stay in the motorist’s system for weeks—making it hard to know if these drugs were a contributing factor in causing a Chicago car accident days after they were ingested.

One dead, four critically hurt in Woodlawn Crash, Chicago Sun-Times, July 27, 2009

Drunken driver injures two cops, WBBM 780, July 27, 2009

Study finds decline in alcohol use by drivers, AP, July 13, 2009

Related Web Resources:


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July 8, 2009

NHTSA Reports 1,043 Illinois Traffic Deaths in 2008

The US Department of Transportation says that 1,043 people died in Illinois traffic accidents last year. Alcohol was a factor in 362 fatalities, while speeding was involved in 385 of the deaths.

Other 2008 Illinois Traffic Safety Facts provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

• 133 Illinois motorcycle rider deaths
• 135 Illinois pedestrian deaths

2008 Traffic deaths in 10 Illinois Counties:
• 274 Cook County fatalities
• 44 Will County deaths
• 40 Kane County fatalities
• 36 Madison County deaths
• 31 St. Clair County fatalities
• 27 La Salle County deaths
• 26 Lake County fatalities
• 24 DuPage County deaths
• 23 Champaign County fatalities
• 20 Dekalb County deaths

The Illinois traffic fatality count was lower last year than it was in 2007 when there were 1,248 deaths. Nationally, there was an overall drop in traffic deaths and injuries between 2008 and 2007. There were 37,261 fatalities last year compared to 41,259 deaths during the year prior. Other substantial declines in the number of traffic fatalities included 25,351 passenger occupant deaths (29,072 fatalities in 2007), 11,883 drunk driving deaths (compared to 13,041 in 2007), 10,764 light truck occupant deaths (12,458 in 2007), 4,378 pedestrian fatalities (4,699 pedestrian deaths in 2007), and 716 pedalcyclist deaths (701 fatalities in 2007). Motorcycle rider fatalities, however, did increase from 158 deaths in 2007 to 188 fatalities in 2008.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says that the annual total for the number of traffic deaths reached its lowest level last year since 1961. The trend appears to be continuing this year, with the first quarter of 2009 showing a decrease in traffic deaths compared to the same period in 2008. From January – March 2009, 7,689 people died in US traffic accidents. There were 8,451 fatalities for the first quarter of 2008.

There are many reasons why an Illinois motor vehicle accident might happen. Many catastrophic Chicago car crashes occur because another party was negligent.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood: Overall Traffic Fatalities Reach Record Low, NHTSA, July 2, 2009

Related Web Resources:

2008 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment Highlights, NHTSA, June 2009 (PDF)

Illinois Traffic Safety Facts for 2008, NHTSA (PDF)

Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities For the First Quarter (January–March) of 2009, NHTSA, June 2009 (PDF)

Continue reading "NHTSA Reports 1,043 Illinois Traffic Deaths in 2008" »

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June 12, 2009

Chicago Car Accident Lawsuit Sues City, Car Owner, and Alleged Drunk Driver for Man’s Illinois Wrongful Death

Last month, our Chicago car accident law firm posted a blog about a catastrophic Illinois motor vehicle accident involving a drunk driver that claimed the life of a 48-year-old Chicago Heights man. Now, Debrasha Piper, the daughter of car accident victim Calvin Hatten, is suing the alleged drunk driver, the vehicle owner, and the city of Chicago for her father’s wrongful death.

The deadly Chicago car crash occurred on May 10. Two days later, driver Juan Cayetano was charged with aggravated drunken driving and reckless homicide. He also received tickets for driving an uninsured vehicle and not having a valid driver’s license.

Hatten and his family were on 43rd street that evening when they were hit by a 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier, operated by Cayetano, who had just run a red light. The impact of the collision forced Hatten’s car to collide with a Toyota Corolla that was stopped at a red light.

Hatten died from his injuries and seven other people also got hurt. Prosecutors say that Cayetano’s BAC was .206. The legal limit is .08%. Hatten leaves behind his two teenage daughters and his wife of 30 years.

Chicago Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving accidents destroy not just the lives of the people that are killed and injured, but also the lives of surviving family members. Not only must the people that are left behind deal with the sudden and unnecessary loss of someone they love, but a young child may be forced to grow up without a father or mother, and a spouse may have to deal with losing not just a partner, but coping with the ramifications that come with raising and supporting a family alone.

Daughter of fatal-crash victim files suit, Sun-Times, June 4, 2009

Victims of Drunk Driving, About.com

Related Web Resources:

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Chicago DUI Accident Lawyers: Recent Drunk Driving Crashes Cause Fatalities and Injuries, ChicagoCarAccidentAttorneysBlog.com, May 15, 2009

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May 26, 2009

Chicago Hit and Run Car Accident: Mayor Daley Orders Police to Investigate Whether Cop Arrested for Boy’s Bicycle Death Was Given Preferential Treatment

Is the Chicago police officer arrested for the Illinois hit-and-run death of 13-year-old Trenton Booker getting preferential treatment? That’s what Chicago Mayor Richard Daley wants to know. He is ordering the police department to conduct a probe into the matter immediately.

Bail was set at $2 million for Richard Bolling—although as of this afternoon, the Chicago police department still won’t identify him as the off-duty cop who was driving the speeding car that hit Booker, who was riding a bicycle, early Saturday morning. They are also refusing to release Bolling's arrest photo.

According to witnesses, Bolling was at a bar right before he got into his vehicle and hit the boy at the intersection of Ashland and 81st at around 1:30am. Police arrested the off-duty cop a few blocks away from the Chicago bicycle accident site after they saw his vehicle driving the wrong way down a one-way street. The state attorney’s office says there was an open bottle of beer in the car and Bolling’s Dodge Charger had sustained windshield and front-end damage.

The 17-year veteran of the Chicago police force was charged with leaving the crash site where an injury or death occurred, aggravated driving under the influence, transporting alcohol, driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street, and reckless homicide.

There are concerns as to why the Chicago police department did not administer a Breathalyzer test to Bolling until four hours after the deadly Chicago motor vehicle accident. Another eight hours reportedly passed before a blood test was administered to Bolling to determine his blood alcohol level. His BAC at that time was .079. The legal limit is .08%.

Booker’s family members have also complained that a court hearing on Saturday to set bail for the Chicago cop took place an hour ahead of schedule and that they weren’t notified of the change. Typically, bond hearings occur at noon.

A police arrest report says that Bolling did not appear impaired after he was given field sobriety tests. However, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney John Dillon said at the Saturday hearing that a witness that saw the Chicago cop at the bar said Bolling always had a drink in hand.

Favoritism shown in cop's DUI arrest?, Chicago Breaking News, May 26, 2009

$2M bail set for Chicago cop charged in hit-run death of boy, Chicago Sun-Times, May 24, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Chicago Police Department

Car Accidents Overview, Justia

Richard M Daley, City of Chicago

Continue reading "Chicago Hit and Run Car Accident: Mayor Daley Orders Police to Investigate Whether Cop Arrested for Boy’s Bicycle Death Was Given Preferential Treatment " »

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May 15, 2009

Chicago DUI Accident Lawyers: Recent Drunk Driving Crashes Cause Fatalities and Injuries

In DuPage County, Illinois, a woman accused of causing a Naperville drunk driving accident on Wednesday afternoon faces charges of aggravated battery in a public place, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving too fast for conditions, leaving an accident scene that involved damage, and failing to slow down the speed of her vehicle.

Margaret T. Puleo was trying to exit an apartment complex on Naper Boulevard in her 1997 Infinity when she struck landscaping rocks close to the driveway before hitting a 2006 Chrysler convertible at the intersection of Columbia Street and Chicago Avenue.

While Puleo and the other driver initially got out of their cars to investigate the DuPage County car crash site, she quickly got into her vehicle when she heard that police were on the way and that is when she hit the other driver, who sustained a serious, non-life threatening injury. Police apprehended Puleo less than two hours later. She is currently free on bail.

In another Illinois drunk driving accident, this one in Cook County, a Brighton Park driver was ordered held in lieu of bail for his alleged role in the fatal drunk driving accident that claimed the life of a Chicago Heights man on Mother’s Day. Juan Cayetano, 38, was charged with aggravated drunk driving resulting in death and reckless homicide.

Prosecutors say Juan Cayetano had a BAC of .206% when he ran a red light on Chicago’s South Side and hit a Lexus driven by a 48-year-old Chicago Heights resident. Calvin Hatten died from his injuries.

Police had been trying to apprehend Cayetano prior to the deadly Chicago car crash. His wife and two daughters were in the car with him when he hit the other car. His wife broke her ribs during the traffic crash. Another passenger fractured a leg. Cayetano was hospitalized following the Chicago traffic accident.

Drunk Driving Accidents
A driver who gets behind the wheel of the car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs seriously increases the chances that he or she will be involved in an Illinois DUI accident that could hurt or kill other people. Although a drunk driver may have impaired his or her senses enough to not know what he or she is doing, this doesn’t excuse the behavior or exempt the motorist from being held accountable for another party’s personal injuries or wrongful death.

Inebriated driver cuts swath of mayhem through Naperville, SuburbanChicagoNews.com, May 15, 2009

Suspect in DUI death ordered held in lieu of bond, Sun Times, May 13, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Drunk Driving, Insurance Information Institute

Continue reading "Chicago DUI Accident Lawyers: Recent Drunk Driving Crashes Cause Fatalities and Injuries" »

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