Illinois family upset after sentence for drunk driving accident

At about midnight on an October day in 1996, an Illinois mother and her friend were pushing her broken-down vehicle off the roadway. A man who was later found to have been intoxicated smashed into them. The mother was killed on impact, and her friend suffered severe injuries in the drunk driving accident. The driver reportedly fled to his home country after entering a guilty plea in 1998.

After years of thorough investigation, the driver was located and extradited to the United States in March of this year. The drunk driver, now a 75-year-old man, was recently sentenced to five years in prison. However, it was reported that when taking eligibility for parole and days spent in custody into consideration, he will likely spend no more than two years in jail. The Cook County prosecutor asked for the maximum sentence of 14 years, while his defense urged the court to not judge the man by only one day.

The deceased woman’s oldest daughter described the impact her mother’s death has had on the family. At age 23, she had to become the primary caregiver to her three young siblings. The family members are extremely disappointed about waiting for 18 years to see justice done, only to see the man who caused so much trauma in their young lives being set free in only two years.

An Illinois resident who has suffered a similar loss to a drunk driving accident can likely understand the woman’s family’s feelings. The loss of a loved one is never easy on a family, but, to lose a loved one because of another’s negligent act, often makes the loss even harder to bear. For some families who have suffered a loss, a wrongful death claim is the right choice. While no amount of money can end a family’s suffering, a successful claim can provide a family with a small sense of justice and can also help provide, financially, for a family’s future. 

Source:, “Man who fled to South Korea after fatal crash gets five years“, Barbara Vitello, Nov. 14, 2014