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Passenger dies in fatal drunk driving accident at zoo lagoon

A 42-year-old Illinois father is facing charges of aggravated DUI and is held on bail of $1 million. This follows a fatal drunk driving accident that caused the death of his passenger. The accused driver is reported to be a personal trainer and baseball instructor, as well as a popular DJ.

Authorities reported that the man was traveling erratically at speeds exceeding 90 mph in the vicinity of Lincoln Park Zoo. It is alleged that he failed to maintain control of the car and smashed through the guard rail. He then crashed into the concrete wall that retains the lagoon at the zoo after leaving the roadway and striking a tree. The car toppled over and came to rest in the lagoon from where the driver and passenger were extricated by emergency workers and transported to the hospital.

It was reported that the 37-year-old passenger was declared dead upon arrival, and the accused driver suffered hand injuries and a fractured vertebra. During the rescue, police apparently smelled alcohol, and his blood alcohol percentage was allegedly measured at .17, which exceeds the legal limit of .08 in the state of Illinois. Authorities also determined that he was driving on a license that had been revoked. Prosecutors revealed that the man had four prior convictions for DUI and speeding violations during the past five years.

Illinois drivers are expected to operate vehicles in a manner that will not endanger the lives of their passengers. In the case of the drunk driving accident described above, the surviving family members are free to take legal action against the negligent driver who caused the death of his passenger. By presenting documented evidence of negligence, along with details of financial and other losses in a civil court, a wrongful death claim may result in a monetary judgment in compensation.

Source: NBC Chicago, "Chicago DJ Held on $1 Million Bail for Fatal Lagoon Crash", Jan. 21, 2015

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