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Fatal DUI car crash nets guilty plea, wrongful death next?

On behalf of of Frederick & Hagle posted in Car Accidents on Tuesday, February 28, 2012.

Last Sept. 5 an argument broke out between two Urbana Illinois men who were roommates. One told the other that he was too drunk to drive. He also threatened to run over the man. It now appears that is exactly what happened with the victim’s own van, as the man pleaded guilty on Feb. 17 to aggravated driving under the influence. He admitted to running over and killing his roommate on Captiva Street near Illini Airport Road, then fleeing the scene of the car crash with another individual. The suspected man’s son stayed behind and notified police, resulting in the arrest of the now-convicted father.

Following the fatal car crash, police arrested the man at his home. In the plea arrangement he reached with prosecutors, the prosecutor promised to ask for a prison term of no more than 12 years, though he could have pressed for 14 years. The charge of fleeing the scene of the accident was dismissed in contemplation of the man’s guilty plea to the other charge. While it is possible the man could be sentenced to probation, he will have to serve at least 85 percent of any prison term he does receive. Sentencing is scheduled for April 5.

While the family and loved ones have perhaps achieved some sense of justice from the guilty plea, they may want to hold the man accountable to the fullest extent of the law. To that end, they may wish to consider filing a wrongful death action against any negligent parties from the fatal car crash. In Illinois a wrongful death lawsuit is properly brought when someone has died as a result of the negligent or reckless conduct of another. In the event of reckless or intentional conduct, punitive damages may be award to punish the wrongdoer for egregious conduct.

Source: The News-Gazette, “Man pleads guilty in fatal DUI case,” Mary Schenk, Feb. 17, 2012

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