Drunk drivers continue to take a horrific toll in the Chicago area. Most recently, an 8-year-old boy was tragically killed in a multi-vehicle crash allegedly caused by a driver who should not have been behind the wheel. What, if anything, can be done to protect innocent Chicago residents from those who choose to drive under the influence of alcohol?
Tragedy in Bedford Park
A Chicago man faces charges after police say he caused a crash that claimed the life of a young boy in Bedford Park in May. Alfonso Lopez, 50, was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI (driving without a valid driver’s license).
Police say Lopez was driving southbound on Cicero Avenue when his vehicle veered into the southbound State Road, crashing into a vehicle that was stopped at a light. An 8-year-old boy inside the vehicle was severely injured and taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Three other people in the car with the boy suffered non-life-threatening injuries. In addition, Lopez struck another car and, altogether, six vehicles were involved in the crash. Nine people were taken to the hospital.
A sobering look at the numbers
The heart-breaking tragedy in Bedford Park is a scene too familiar in the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area and throughout the state. As recently as 2018, Illinois officials reported:
- 27% of 951 fatal crashes (276 victims) in the state involved alcohol.
- 26,224 DUI arrests.
- 90% of eligible drivers arrested for DUI lost their driving privileges.
- Males ages 21-24 were most likely to be arrested for DUI.
- 86% of drivers arrested for DUI were first offenders.
In addition to fines, loss of license, and jail time, convicted DUI offenders face a wide range of possible penalties under Illinois laws. They range from the DUI conviction becoming a permanent part of their driving record and the installation of a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device on their vehicle to suspension of their registration and the impoundment of their vehicle.
Furthermore, the total average cost of a DUI conviction in Illinois is more than $18,000. Expenses range from high-risk insurance rates and court costs to legal fees and loss of income while attending court and mandated driver education classes.
Protect yourself and your family
Despite the risks to themselves and others, drivers continue to get behind the wheel when they have had too much alcohol to drink. And, unfortunately, because they drive erratically and unpredictably, you are at their mercy.
If you were injured or a loved one died in a crash caused by a drunk driver, you deserve compensation for your losses. These can be economic damages, that is, expenses you suffered as a result of your accident that have an actual dollar amount, such as your medical bills and lost wages. And non-economic damages — like your pain and suffering — which are more subjective but no less real than your other losses.
At Coplan + Crane, our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to maximize the value of your claim. Our car accident lawyers know the laws and how the local court systems work here. We know how to calculate the true cost of your accident and fight for a fair financial settlement. We also aren’t afraid to file a lawsuit and take your case to court if that’s what it takes to recover the compensation you’re entitled to.
To find out more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation.