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Illinois authorities: Drunk driver killed Pontiac officer, K-9

A blood alcohol percentage of 0.08 is the legal intoxication threshold in Illinois and every other state for drivers 21 and older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, visual acuity and multi-tasking are impacted by a blood alcohol concentration of as little as 0.02 percent.

A typical driver with a BAC level of 0.05 percent -- within the legal range to operate a vehicle -- may take longer to respond to sudden traffic changes and have difficulty steering and tracking objects in motion. Since alcohol's effects vary due to size, weight and other factors, not all drivers feel the same way upon reaching the BAC benchmarks. Some motorists show signs of impairment at later BAC stages, while some drivers display symptoms earlier than average.

Pontiac authorities reported the driver of a pickup that rear-ended a police cruiser was drunk. The Interstate 55 collision took the lives of an on-duty officer and a police K-9.

The truck left the highway and slammed into the officer's SUV, parked in the median. The police dog was killed instantly. The officer was pronounced dead, after both drivers were hospitalized.

A blood draw at the hospital indicated the truck driver's BAC level was above 0.08. An exact reading was not reported.

Officials said the driver confessed that he consumed alcohol before driving and apparently fell asleep at the wheel, waking up just moments before the fatal crash. The 33-year-old man was jailed on $1 million bond, after being charged with driving under the influence, aggravated DUI and reckless homicide.

Pantagraph.com reported the 29-year-old Air Force veteran who died had been a police officer for six years.

Criminal penalties are severe for individuals convicted of drunk driving accidents that result in serious injuries or death. In civil court, drunk driving is an act of negligence, where juries can order defendants to compensate victims of DUI crashes.


Source: 
pjstar.com, "Man charged in crash that killed Pontiac officer" No author given, Nov. 01, 2013

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