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Victim of Chicago hit-and-run died after attempted good deed

Some people get involved when they see potential danger, while others wait for authorities to handle the matter. Depending on your point of view, the person who steps up to prevent harm is an interloper or a hero. Cook County civilians aren't trained to deal with some unstable situations, but sometimes there's no one else who can act immediately.

A man at a bar in West Town could have stayed right where he was, enjoying the company of Chicago friends on a Saturday afternoon. Instead, the patron noticed another man in the bar got up to leave. The bartender had cut off the man's supply of alcohol, an action bar employees take to prevent over-serving customers and violating Illinois's Dram Shop Act.

The observer saw the man exit, get in an SUV and crash into several parked vehicles. The concerned 33-year-old patron walked over to the vehicle and leaned in the side window to try to get the man to stop. The SUV kept moving, pulling the patron's body along the road for almost a block.

The pedestrian fell away from the vehicle and struck his head on a pavement. The accident victim, a Peoria native, died of the head injury. The man in the SUV drove away.

Authorities traced the 42-year-old driver to the home of his girlfriend and arrested him five hours after the fatal encounter. A blood alcohol content test was conducted. The man's BAC level was 0.225 percent, eight hours after leaving the bar.

The man's explanation for the hit-and-run was that he thought the patron's interference was a robbery. Aggravated DUI and reckless homicide charges were filed. This was the defendant's fourth DUI arrest since 1993.

Drunk driving accidents are preventable. The knowledge only adds to the pain and suffering of survivors. Families may find justice in criminal courts and monetary relief through civil claims against negligent or reckless defendants.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Prosecutors: Man killed trying to stop drunken driver" Liam Ford, Mar. 25, 2014

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