Kristen M. Leonard, 31, of West Chicago was drunk driving when she hit a guardrail on the shoulder of the road, spinning out of control and causing the death of her passenger, police told the Chicago Tribune
. The accident happened early in the morning on a Sunday, and it's likely that Leonard was heading home from a Saturday night out when the incident occurred. "The accident killed Jason B. Callahan, 38, of Yorkville," reports the Tribune
. "Callahan owned the vehicle but was a passenger at the time and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said." Leonard was immediately taken to Rush-Copley Medical Center where she was treated for injuries
sustained in the crash, but when released from the hospital she'll be transferred directly to Kendall County Jail, according to the Tribune
Leonard will be charged with "aggravated driving under the influence resulting in death, aggravated driving under the influence causing great bodily harm, improper lane usage, and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident
," Oswego police told the Tribune
. These are felony counts, and it's likely that Leonard will spend significant time in prison along with incurring a hefty fine for her role in the accident. Any aggravated DUI, according to Illinois State Law
, is a Class 4 felony. Aggravated DUI can refer to any crash that results in severe injury or permanent disfigurement. The charge carries a punishment of a loss of driving privileges for a minimum of one year, possible imprisonment of up to 12 years, and a fine not to exceed $25,000.
According to the Illinois DUI Fact Book 2013
, there were 38,704 drivers arrested for DUI in 2011. This is a significant decline from the 45,946 arrested in 2009, but it's still a widespread state problem. According to the Fact Book, the Secretary of State of Illinois will send any DUI victim or victim's family information about the court hearings of the person responsible for the DUI upon request. "This request is separate from any court notification or victim impact statement," according to the Fact Book.
If you or someone you know has been affected by DUI, however, the most important first step is to seek the counsel of a dedicated lawyer. Don't go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Chicago-area accident attorney