Young Driver Faces Prison Sentence after Fatal Car Accident in St. Charles: Parents Warned

A fatal car accident in St. Charles ended in tragedy after a young man killed his friend in an alleged drunk-driving accident, according to the Chicago Tribune. The accident happened in 2009, and since then officials have decided to re-sentence him. The re-sentencing comes after the man’s grandmother alerted authorities that he has been recently arrested for underage drinking. The young man was found guilty on charges of reckless homicide and aggravated DUI for the 2009 accident. His blood alcohol concentration reported to be three times over the legal limit of 0.08. In the accident, the driver slammed his SUV into a tree in the middle of the night.
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Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that young drivers are at high risks for car accidents through the holiday season. When these individuals are let out of school, a good deal of them will consume alcohol, although they’re not old enough to, and jump behind the wheel. It’s important for parents to keep a close eye on their young drivers during this year’s winter break. Make sure you know where your children are, who they’re with and what they’re doing at all times.

Under the charges, the young driver could potentially have faced nearly 15 years behind bars. Instead, the judge sentenced him to six months in jail. He was allowed to serve his time over the course of three summers so that his jail time would not get in the way of his college education. Under the recent violation of probation, the young man was faced with a $10,000 bond. Prosecutors are urging the judge to give the young man prison time for this offense because it involved alcohol, again. When someone violates their probation, a judge is allowed to re-sentence an offender and can give them the full sentence from the original conviction, which was 14 years in prison.

The holidays are a busy time on our roadways and teenagers are at higher risks for car accidents than more experienced drivers. As these young drivers gear up for winter break and road trips, parents are urged to talk to them about safe driving habits.

Holiday Driving Tips from AT&T for Teenagers:

-Make safety your number one call. Wireless phones are distraction, both hand-held and hands-free. Don’t talk while driving. Instead of answering your phone behind the wheel, wait until you’ve stopped and call the person back.

-Ask passengers to help you out. Ask a passenger to change the radio station, to change the CD, to make/answer a phone call or to help you with directions.

-If you’re riding solo and not able to ask a passenger for help, wait until you’ve come to a complete stop to do any other those tasks.

-Never ever drink and drive! Teens are already four times more likely to get into a car accident than older age groups of drivers. Add alcohol into the mix and those risks increase significantly.

-Drivers should never text message, take pictures, record video or watch television/videos while driving.

-Eat your food at a table, not in the driver’s seat. If you’re traveling with a passenger, take turns driving so the other can eat.

-Avoid having emotional or stressful conversations at the wheel.

-Avoid rubbernecking. Let your passengers see the sights while you focus on driving.

-Pause the conversation when driving in dangerous areas, like work zones, poor weather conditions or heavy traffic.

Teenagers are asked to be cautious on our roadways through the remainder of 2011 and well into 2012. Car accidents are preventable with safe driving habits and caution behind the wheel. Enjoy winter break and we’ll see you next year!

If you or your teenager has been injured in a drunk-driving traffic accident, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

Additional Resources:

Man on probation in DUI fatal crash arrested for underage drinking, by Clifford Ward, Chicago Tribune
More Blog Entries:

State Receives Recognition for Combating Drunk Driving Accidents in Illinois, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, November 21, 2011