Chicago, Illinois Wrongful Death Auto Accident Results in DUI Guilty Plea

A deadly Cook County car crash has resulted in a DUI guilty plea, according to the Southtown Star. The motor vehicle collision occurred on September 9, 2007 when the 27 year old defendant ran a red light at Western Avenue and 31st Street. He struck a car being driven by Minerva Santiago who died as a result of the crash.

The DUI driver had a blood alcohol content of .194, more than twice the legal limit of .08. Prosecutors from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office allege the defendant had about 20 beers before the accident, and further has no valid driver’s license.

The defendant plead guilty to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol without the benefit of a plea agreement with prosecutors. He can be sentenced anywhere from 3 – 14 years by Cook County Circuit Judge James Linn.

Minerva Santiago was a superintendent the Cook County Department of Corrections. After the accident she was dead on arrival at Mount Sinai Hospital.

From the view of a wrongful death attorney, here the estate of the victim can bring a claim against the defendant in civil court. However, the first question that comes to mind is whether Ortiz even has valid auto insurance to cover the crash. I ask this because the state’s attorney’s office indicated he did not have a valid driver’s license. If the defendant had no insurance, a personal injury attorney would then look to make an uninsured motorist claim against Santiago’s own policy.

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