Reports from Illinois police investigators conflict with statements made by a woman driver accused of leaving the scene of a recent, fatal Lake County crash. A 50-year-old Antioch man died when his motorcycle was struck by the defendant's car on Route 173. So far, charges include failure to aid the injured victim and report the accident.
The 34-year-old woman contacted authorities almost six hours after the motorcyclist was pronounced dead. The defendant's call came in more than seven hours after she claimed the motorcycle drifted into her traffic lane during a passing maneuver. Initial evidence gathered by investigators indicated damage to the woman's car was consistent with the accident and, against her word, it appeared the bike rider never left his lane.
The woman told police fear caused her to flee. She admitted drinking up to three glasses of wine in the hours before the car accident. Toxicology tests were administered to determine blood alcohol content.
DUI charges have not been filed, although the possibility is open depending upon the outcome of the police investigation or decisions made by a Lake County grand jury. The driver was arrested on drunk-driving charges in 2004 and 2005, for which she received supervision, served a short Lake County jail term and spent time on parole.
The woman was jailed on $250,000 bail. Conditions for her release include a 24-hour home curfew, no driving and a ban on the use of any alcohol or drugs. A conviction on the failure to report charge could result in a maximum 15-year prison term – failure to render aid could add a jail term just shy of one year.
Drunk-driving accidents, like other crashes caused by negligent or reckless behavior, are preventable. The drivers who cause them may be tried in criminal and civil courts. Victims harmed by irresponsible drivers have the right to sue for compensation for losses.
Source: Daily Herald, "Prosecutors: Antioch-area woman said she drank wine before fatal motorcycle crash," Lee Filas, Aug. 27, 2015