This time of year, the dangers posed by drunk drivers are greater than ever. Whether people are coming home from a holiday party or at a bar drinking to forget that they're alone this Christmas, too many people get behind the wheel when they shouldn't.
A correctional officer with the Cook County Sheriff's Office paid the ultimate price this week. The 27-year-old Addison man was struck and killed in Woodbridge on Dec. 17 by an alleged drunk driver. He was pronounced dead at the crash scene.
That 30-year-old driver is also a correctional officer with that office. However, he has been de-deputized while the crash is being investigated by multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Felony Investigative Assistance Team (FIAT), the Illinois State Police (ISP) and the sheriff's office that he works for. He was hospitalized following the crash and was later charged with DUI. He was released from the Will County Adult Detention Facility after posting bail.
A third vehicle was also involved in the crash. However, nothing about anyone in that vehicle was reported.
The following day in a Facebook post, the sheriff's office said, "Yesterday was a devastating day." The deceased man had been with the office for more than two and a half years. The driver charged with DUI has worked there for over four years.
Drivers who cause accidents because they're under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can face serious criminal charges -- particularly when someone is injured or killed. However, victims and surviving loved ones can and should also explore their options for seeking compensation through civil legal action.