Driver in Fatal Huffing Incident Sentenced to 5 Yeas

Drivers in Chicago and across the nation are required to operate their vehicles in a safe manner at all times because the actions of any one driver can directly affect the health of others. When one motorist chooses to act in a negligent manner, whether by speeding, ignoring a stop sign or red light, or driving while impaired, all other drivers in the area face an increased risk of being involved in a collision and may sustain injuries if a crash results.

While the laws make driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs a crime, potential criminal charges may not be the only responsibility facing an impaired motorist. In Chicago, the laws of the state enable the victims of these crashes to seek financial compensation for their damages. While no amount of money can ever reverse the effects of a crash once one has occurred, financial relief may enable innocent victims to obtain the medical treatment they need and deserve, the rehabilitative care that will return them to their pre-injury state, and provide for any wages that were missed from work while a victim recuperates. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer in Chicago may help you understand your legal options if you have been involved in an accident, including one where a drunk or impaired driver was to blame.

It was Labor Day of 2012 when an alleged impaired driver, high from huffing chemical fumes, caused a serious crash in Highland Park that left a 5-year-old girl dead. Facing charges since that point, the driver’s fate was decided yesterday when she received a five year sentence, the same length of the life of the young victim in this case.

Following a not guilty plea, a trial occurred in May where the defendant was found guilty after evidence indicated that she was huffing chemicals from a keyboard cleaner. The driver then lost consciousness and drove across multiple lanes of traffic before driving onto a sidewalk where numerous pedestrians were gathered. One group of walkers consisted of a mother and her three young children who were struck by the vehicle, some several times. While the mother and two children survived, a 5-year-old girl lost her life due to the injuries she sustained in the crash.

Speaking in court, the mother of the victim asked for the maximum possible sentence of 14 years while prosecutors argued for an 8-year term. Attorneys for the defendant, now a 20-year-old woman, cited instances from the woman’s past that they claimed should be considered in a reduced sentence, arguing for no jail time in this instance. Following the imposed five year sentence, the defendant will undergo two years of supervised release.



Driving under the influence of alcohol often gets attention in the media and its dangers are widely known among those in Chicago. Yet driving under the influence of drugs can be just as dangerous and just as threatening to those in the area.

When one driver acts in a manner that risks the safety of others, and a victim is injured due to that negligence, that victim may be entitled to legal relief. The team at Abels & Annes, P.C. is standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to take your call and help you understand your legal options if a collision has affected your life.

We can be reached toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we will offer you a free case consultation without any obligation on your part. When you call Abels & Annes, P.C., you will speak with a licensed lawyer and everything discussed will be kept confidential.

If an accident has left you with injuries, do not continue to suffer in silence. Call Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us help you seek the relief you deserve.

Prior Blog Entry:

NFL’s Josh Gordon Pleads Guilty to Driving While Impaired, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 17, 2014.


5 years in ‘huffing’ crash that killed girl, 5, by Dan Hinkel and Susan Berger, Chicago Tribune, published September 17, 2014.

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