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Five-year prison term set for Skokie driver who killed boy

An 8-year-old Cook County boy was in a place last spring where a car should not have been. The child was riding his bike along a Skokie sidewalk when he became the victim of an auto accident involving an intoxicated driver.

The car accident that killed the child was caused by a 24-year-old woman who admitted she smoked marijuana earlier the same day. The defendant cried during her recent sentencing. A prosecutor said the tears did not represent remorse as much as sorrow for her own fate.

The young woman was driving home from a Skokie restaurant job. The car struck a van while attempting a turn at an intersection. The collision sent the defendant's vehicle into a spin, across the median and into the young victim.

Authorities charged the restaurant employee with two crimes for driving under the influence of drugs -- misdemeanor DUI and felony aggravated DUI. A guilty plea was entered in February which led to a five-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors noted the defendant failed to live up to the terms of a previous arrest for marijuana possession. The convicted woman apparently consumed alcohol against the court's orders and failed to appear for mandatory drug education classes.

The sentencing judge said the boy's death last year was no "accident" because the driver had willingly used marijuana before getting behind the wheel. The accusation would be a pivotal point in a wrongful death claim, where negligence is proof of wrongdoing.

Reports did not make it clear whether the victim's parents were considering or had filed a civil action against the convicted Skokie woman. The plaintiffs have the right to ask for compensation for the suffering their child experienced before death and their own economic and personal losses.

Illinois laws establish a timeline for filing wrongful death lawsuits. In most cases, plaintiffs have two years from the time of a victim's death to make a claim.

Source: articles.chicagotribune.com, "Woman gets 5 years in Skokie crash that killed boy, 8," Brian L. Cox, March 20, 2013

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