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Jury Finds Chicago Cop Guilty of Deadly DUI

Casey Woodruff

Last week, a Chicago police officer was convicted by a Cook County jury of not only aggravated drunk driving but also reckless homicide and leaving the scene of an accident. The conviction stems from a hit-and-run accident that resulted in the death of a 13-year-old boy. This incident only illustrates the dangerous – and often fatal – consequences of drunk driving accidents in Chicago.

The teenager was killed after the off-duty officer ran him over with his Dodge Charger as the boy was riding his bike. Authorities claimed the officer struck the teen with such force that his bike was further knocked under a nearby parked SUV.

Throughout the case, prosecutors argued the off-duty officer received preferential treatment from arresting officers – such as waiting two hours before taking a field sobriety test and not taking a breathalyzer test until four hours after the accident. However, a state expert testified that the officer would have been as much as twice the legal limit if he had been tested at the time of the crash.

Drunk Driving Fatalities in Illinois

Although this horrific accident is a reminder that drunk driving fatalities are still too common in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently released data indicating that alcohol-related fatalities have been actually dropping in recent years.

According to a release issued by IDOT, the number of motor vehicle fatalities involving at least one impaired driver – a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher – has continually declined from 2006 through 2010. In 2006, there were 446 alcohol-related fatalities on Illinois roads, and in 2010, that number had dropped to 298 – representing a 33 percent decline. The largest fatality reduction occurred between 2007 and 2008, when alcohol-related driving accidents deaths dropped by 83 – a 19 percent reduction.

Being a family member of those killed by drunk drivers can be especially infuriating considering the entire accident could have been prevented had the intoxicated driver simply chosen not to get behind the wheel. These selfish drunk drivers need to be held accountable for their actions and for the injuries the cause.

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