The person behind the wheel is responsible for the safety of everyone in a vehicle and owes a duty of care or obligation to others on the road. Cook County juries compare a defendant's actions with the behavior of a reasonable driver when considering negligence in an auto accident case. Drinking and driving is not reasonable under any circumstances, even when passengers agree to risk their lives by riding with an intoxicated driver.
A South Holland man and three friends decided to party heavily on a Friday night. At first, the group confined drinking alcohol to a Lynwood home but later decided to visit a Near North Side bar. The work friends continued drinking through the night and well into the early morning hours of the following day. The co-workers climbed back into the driver's Chevy Impala at the end of the long night.
Two passengers suffered injuries and a third passenger died before the party of four got back to Lynwood. The Impala was doing over 60 mph when the intoxicated driver made a fatal error on the Dan Ryan Expressway. The car swerved too far to the right at the Chicago Skyway entrance ramp and hit a highway divider.
Crash investigators said a 22-year-old male passenger died from traumatic neck and head injuries. The driver's blood alcohol content level was more than 0.22 percent, nearly triple the 0.08 percent state limit. Police found open bottles of alcohol in the crashed vehicle and stated the 29-year-old driver, charged with aggravated DUI, confessed he caused the drunk driving accident.
Parties don't start out to be disasters. Driver regret often follows a preventable accident but, by then, it's too late to change anything that has happened. Authorities charge lawbreakers for alcohol-related offenses and punish them, while civil courts concentrate on the quality of financial claims to alleviate victims' suffering for a defendant's unreasonable behavior.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Man in fatal DUI crash was nearly 3 times over the legal limit, prosecutors say" Kim Geiger, Apr. 20, 2014