A 32-year-old Illinois woman has been charged with aggravated driving while under the influence in connection with a May 16 accident in Champaign that claimed the life of her boyfriend. Prosecutors filed the charge on May 18 after receiving a preliminary accident report from law enforcement. The arrest warrant was issued by a Champaign County judge. The woman faces a prison sentence of between three years and 14 years if she is convicted.
Police respond to accident scene
Officers from the Champaign Police Department were dispatched to the intersection of West Church Street and North Draper Avenue at approximately 11:00 p.m. to investigate reports of a one-vehicle accident. When they arrived at the scene, they allegedly discovered an SUV lying on its side. Police say the woman was crying and trying to help an injured man who was trapped inside the vehicle. After a brief investigation, officers determined that the woman had been behind the wheel of the SUV when it crashed. They believe that she lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree as she attempted to make a right turn.
Liquor bottles found beneath the SUV
Firefighters used cutting equipment to free the man from the damaged SUV. Paramedics then transported the man and woman to a medical facility in Urbana. The man succumbed to his injuries shortly after being admitted. Police gathered urine and blood samples from the woman while she was at the hospital. Toxicology tests allegedly indicated that her blood alcohol concentration was more than three times the legal driving limit in Illinois. Police also claim to have found empty tequila and vodka bottles at the accident scene.
This case reveals how serious the penalties for drunk driving can be when the offender is involved in a serious accident. If you are charged with DUI following an accident, an experienced criminal defense attorney could seek a more lenient sentence by pointing out mitigating factors. Mitigating factors that could lead to a reduced sentence include sincere regret over the incident, a full-time job, a previously clean criminal record, a willingness to enter substance abuse counseling and the support of friends and relatives.