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Drunk driving blamed for DuPage County passenger's death

Intoxicated drivers, like all negligent individuals, are risk takers with a false sense of security. Think of a time when you and a friend went out to dinner and shared a couple of drinks. No one felt or acted drunk after a few beers, but neither of you knew for sure whether you were capable of driving.

Many Aurora, Naperville and Joliet alcohol drinkers easily assume they could pass a blood alcohol test after an evening of socializing. When they feel competent to drive, they do it. Intoxicated drivers who rationalize away responsibility often learn they made a mistake after waking up in a hospital - when they find out the error caused a fatal accident.

A DuPage County lawyer was a passenger in a car driven by a Downers Grove man. The men were traveling through Oak Brook just after midnight when the driver lost control. The car left the road and crashed in a wooded lot. The 48-year-old Hinsdale passenger died at the scene.

The driver, also in his late 40s, was hospitalized. Upon the patient's release, the suburban Chicago man was arrested and charged with aggravated DUI. A $750,000 bond was set.

Oak Brook police stated, when officers arrived at the site of the fatal car crash, both men inside the vehicle were restrained by seat belts. Prosecutors said the driver's blood alcohol content exceeded 0.08. Authorities did not mention how much higher than the Illinois limit the driver's BAC level was.

The car accident victim was a married father of two, who had been a Chicago law firm partner.

Misjudging a personal level of intoxication is no excuse for individuals charged with DUI accidents. The excuse won't fly in civil courts, either, where a wrongful death jury may rule in favor of a plaintiff's family whose pain and suffering was caused by a negligent driver's willingness to take a risk.

Source:  hinsdale.suntimes.com, "Downers Grove man charged in accident that killed Hinsdale man" Chuck Fieldman, Sep. 24, 2013

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