A Cook County man's car was undriveable after a minor collision on Interstate 290 in Addison last year. An investigating state trooper parked protectively behind the on-road, damaged vehicle. The squad car's emergency lights were in full operation.
The trooper was in the driver's seat of the squad car. The 42-year-old car owner sat in the back of the patrol unit to escape the frigid temperatures of the early February morning.
A car suddenly smashed into the patrol vehicle. The trooper suffered a serious head injury as he was thrown into the rear seat. The back seat passenger who was trying to stay warm died.
The Chicago man arrested for causing the fatal accident was speeding, intoxicated and using a cellphone. The driver's blood alcohol level registered 0.20, more than double the legal limit. Prosecutors said the 34-year-old defendant's car never slowed or braked before crashing into the trooper's vehicle.
The defendant told investigators he remembered leaving a bar where he had been drinking wine. The driver was not certain how long he had been driving before the crash.
The accused man and prosecutors reached a compromise nearly a year and a half after the fatal car accident. The defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI; prosecutors recommended a 12-year rather than 14-year prison sentence. Probation also may be an option at the October sentencing.
The trooper's head injury kept him out of work for several weeks. The recovery of for past medical costs, related ongoing treatments and lost wages are possible through a personal injury lawsuit.
The family of the man who died also has a right to file a claim for compensation. The victim's surviving spouse, children or parent may be awarded damages for pecuniary injuries such as a loss of services, society or financial support. An award also may be granted for the family's emotional pain.
dailyherald.com, "Driver who hit squad car pleads guilty in fatal Addison crash" Josh Stockinger, Jul. 22, 2013