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Chicago DUI driver who killed Skokie bicyclist pleads guilty

A history of multiple traffic offenses preceded a drunk driving suspect's arrest and conviction for killing a Chicago boy. The woman who pleaded guilty to causing a fatal pedestrian accident at a Skokie intersection is 23 years old. 

The defendant had been charged 15 times with traffic infractions over the last several years. Half a dozen of the violations involved speeding. A citation was also issued last year for leaving a Cook County accident scene. 

There were too few convictions to force a suspension of the woman's driver's license. State law suspends licenses for drivers with three convictions in one year, a limit the suspect never reached.

Last year, the driver struck another car during an attempt to turn onto Skokie's Main Street from a side road. Police said the woman was under the influence of amphetamines and marijuana when her car spun into a child riding a bicycle along a sidewalk. The 8-year-old died from his injuries.

The crash occurred in May, just two months after the driver was released from supervision on a marijuana possession charge.

Sentencing next month for the aggravated DUI guilty plea could include a 14-year prison term. The quest for criminal justice could end with the defendant's incarceration, but the child's parents may submit claims for economic and emotional losses to a civil court.

Damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit provide compensatory closure for survivors. The child's last medical bills and expenses for a funeral and burial may have been financial hardships. 

The mother and father have lost the chance to watch their son grow up. Siblings will never know their brother as an adult. The parents could ask to be compensated for pain and suffering and deprivation of companionship.  

No jury award can give grieving parents what they want most -- their child. Wrongful death claims are able to alleviate some the financial adversity a family experiences when a loved one dies. 

Source: chicago.cbslocal.com, "Skokie Woman Pleads Guilty In DUI Crash That Killed Child," Feb. 14, 2013

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