Abels & Annes

Fatal Chicago car accident lands drunk driver behind bars for death of friends

A man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for a drunk driving Chicago car accident that claimed the life of two friends, the Sun-Times reported.

The 26-year-old Batavia man pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated DUI and one count of DUI in connection with the August 2007 crash that killed two friends. The victims were both 21 years old. The judge rejected a defense argument of extraordinary circumstances and declined to give credit for time served at home on electronic monitoring.

An accident reconstruction expert testified the vehicle was traveling 104 to 113 mph when it left Dugan Road in Sugar Grove Township. The car was nearly split in half after striking a tree. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene. The defendant survived and was arrested after being treated at the hospital. Blood tests showed the defendant’s blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit of .08 and that he had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash. The defendant initially admitted to being the driver of the vehicle but later changed his statement.

The three friends had been at a party when the cops arrived and sent home those who were sober. The three men promised to stay at the home through the night, but ended up speeding down the road instead.

Since his arrest, the defendant has spoken more than a dozen times to DUI offenders at drug and alcohol counseling centers and has spent more than 900 days on electronic home monitoring.

The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that 44 percent of drivers who died in Illinois car accidents in 2008 tested positive for alcohol; half of all drivers ages 16 to 24 had alcohol in their systems when involved in a fatal accident.