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Drunk driver gets 10-year sentence

A Chicago man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to causing a drunk driving accident will spend a decade in prison for his role in the crash. The man, age 34, was intoxicated at the time of the wreck on Feb. 11, 2012, when he struck a state trooper's car and killed one of its occupants. The police officer in the vehicle survived, but a man who was being transported in the car perished.

The drunk driver in this case had a blood alcohol content of about 0.19 percent, which is more than twice the legal limit in the state of Illinois. The man struck the police car while it was parked as part of an accident investigation on Interstate 290. Official reports show that the decedent in the case was involved in the earlier crash that prompted police response. The squad car was parked so that it blocked two lanes of traffic to preserve the crash scene.

Even though district attorneys in the case had sought a 12-year prison sentence, the man will only serve a 10-year stint. The lengthy sentence was precipitated by two facts. First, the man had a previous drunk driving conviction at age 18 in Michigan. Second, his company had offered to pay for a cab to transport him home from the gathering he was attending with co-workers at a local sports bar. Instead of taking advantage of the free transportation, the man chose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

Family members in the case may feel as though justice has been served through the lengthy sentence, but they could receive compensation from the man if a civil case in the matter is successful. Negligent drivers who choose to operate vehicles while intoxicated deserve to suffer for their crimes, both through criminal sentences and civil rulings. Financial penalties may work to decrease the number of drunk driving accidents that plague Illinois roads.

Source: articles.chicagotribune.com, "Driver in fatal crash with trooper's squad car gets 10 years" Clifford Ward, Oct. 24, 2013

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