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5 adults, 3 kids hospitalized after Chicago van accident

A traffic accident involving severe physical injuries or deaths quickly and dramatically affects the lives of many people. A victim's suffering is shared by family members, friends and co-workers. A Cook County family's finances can be jolted by a sudden and indefinite or permanent loss of income.

The hardest blow happens when more than one family member is hurt at the same time in an auto accident.

An overnight crash on Chicago's South Side was blamed on drunk driving. Investigators said the lone driver of a minivan was under the influence of alcohol when her vehicle crashed into a car at a Fuller Park intersection.

Seven people in the car were hurt, among them three children, ages 7 and under. Medical crews transported five adults to area hospitals, including the minivan driver. Reports said the children and two adults were listed in fair-to-serious condition; the remaining victims' injuries were more severe.

Police charged the female minivan driver with misdemeanor DUI, a traffic infraction and uninsured and unlicensed driving. Authorities believe the collision occurred when the 29-year-old drunk driver disregarded a red light.

Identities and relationships of the people in the car were not reported.

Cook County drunk driving arrests dropped significantly in every district between 2010 and 2012. The most recent information from the 2014 Illinois DUI Fact Book shows arrests in the county's District 1 fell from 3,536 to 3,326, a difference of more than 200 arrests.

A decrease in DUI arrests may indicate fewer Chicago drivers are drinking and driving than in the past - good news for local motorists. The statistics are little comfort to the victims of drunk drivers.

Harsh criminal penalties await drivers convicted of DUI in Illinois. Separate civil claims also may be filed by individuals or families who suffer losses because of drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Woman charged with DUI in two-car crash on South Side that injured 8" Peter Nickeas, Feb. 03, 2014

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