The euphoria of an alcoholic "buzz" is dismissed by some Illinois drivers as a manageable driving condition. Some motorists, including drivers whose jobs are to ensure traffic safety, do not consider alcohol's effects until they are held accountable for an injurious or fatal drunk driving accident.
Bail for a 35-year-old suburban police officer was set at $500,000 following a wrong-way auto accident that killed two men in their 20s. Authorities said the officer was heavily intoxicated and speeding on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive before striking the college students' Jeep.
Reports stated the officer's blood alcohol concentration exceeded twice the state's limit of 0.08. The officer's personal vehicle allegedly was speeding at a minimum of 60 mph, at least 15 mph above the speed limit.
The 25- and 27-year-old victims, students at DePaul University and Malcolm X College, died when their Jeep was hit. The officer was hospitalized with an injury that prevented him from attending the bail hearing for charges of reckless homicide and aggravated DUI.
The consequences of the collision have already caused the officer's suspension from police duties. The man was placed on administrative leave pending the case's outcome. The mother of one of the victims said her grief was intensified knowing that an officer was involved in the accident that killed her child.
The crash occurred in the early morning hours of the officer's birthday. An investigation of the off-duty officer's activities before the crash may find that the suspect had been drinking at a bar or restaurant.
The Illinois Dram Shop Act permits wrongful death plaintiffs to request damages from drunk drivers and the establishments where the negligent driver purchased or consumed alcohol. Evidence must show a bar, liquor store or other similar business contributed to a driver's intoxicated state.
State laws limit the time plaintiffs have to file wrongful death claims to as little as one year after a victim's death.
Source: inquisitr.com, "Chicago Police Officer Charged After Killing Two In Traffic Accident," Bertel King, Jr., March 18, 2013