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Alcohol, speed and drugs blamed for fatal Lake County crash

Authorities in Lake County say high speed, alcohol and hydrocodone were behind a wrong-way accident that killed a woman one day after her wedding. An investigation of the January fatal car accident by Lincolnshire police produced charges by state prosecutors in mid-May.

A Glencoe man was placed under arrest on reckless homicide and aggravated DUI charges. Officials claim the 63-year-old was drunk driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.1. The state limit for driver impairment is .08.

Toxicology test results reported the driver was also under the influence of a narcotic, generic Vicodin, when the suspect's car went the wrong way down Illinois Highway 21 and slammed head-on into a Toyota Corolla.

Police received calls just before 9 p.m. on the night of the crash from witnesses who reported the erratic driving of a Honda CRV in Buffalo Grove on Illinois Highway 22. The vehicle was spotted swerving from a ditch toward a median and striking a road sign.

The Honda CRV allegedly turned onto Illinois Highway 21, heading southbound in the northbound travel lanes. The CRV crashed head-on into a Toyota Corolla. The impact drove the Toyota up and onto a Jeep that had been travelling behind the Corolla.

Three drivers were hurt and hospitalized.

A 26-year-old newlywed, who was a passenger in the Toyota, suffered critical injuries. The woman died at Libertyville Hospital within a week.

Investigators say excessive speed also factored in the crash.

The Glencoe driver claimed he was lost and became confused as he made his way home from Elmhurst. The last stop he made before the fatal accident was a bar.

In some situations, such as this one, victims impacted by a fatal accident involving alcohol may also be able to file a lawsuit against the establishment the driver was drinking at. In Illinois, this law is called the "Liquor Control Act." As stated, commercial establishments (like a bar) can be held liable for any damages or injuries caused by an intoxicated person provided that:

  • The establishment sold alcohol to the patron
  • Injuries or damages were in fact sustained by the patron or plaintiff
  • The business was the proximate cause of the intoxication due to the sale of the alcoholic beverage
  • The intoxication was at least one major cause in the third party's injury

Illinois' dram shop law is somewhat distinctive among other states' laws because there is no requirement that the establishment have knowledge that the person was already intoxicated. Other states require at least a general suspicion that the person is visibly intoxicated.

Source: triblocal.com, "Glencoe man charged with reckless homicide in crash that killed Wheeling newlywed," John P. Huston, May 18, 2012

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