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A Belleville, Illinois, man has pled guilty in a deadly drunk driving car accident that left one man dead and another seriously injured. The accident happened Dec. 10, 2010. The man's guilty plea was accepted in St. Clair County Circuit Court. The driver of the car, a 19-year-old man, pleaded to reckless homicide as well as aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol. The man injured in the car accident was a passenger in the accused man's vehicle.

According to Illinois State Police, the car accident occurred on St. Clair Avenue at 70th Street near East St Louis, Illinois, at about 11:35 p.m.. As a result of the head-on impact, the deceased man's car caught fire. His cause of death was ruled as massive trauma to the head. A sentencing heard is scheduled for Nov. 8.

Car accidents that result in injury or death are surely tragic. But when the cause of the accident is attributed to DUI they become even more senseless. For the injured man, there may be legal options available to recover monetary damages for his serious injuries as well as for any pain and suffering. The estate of the deceased, meanwhile, could pursue a wrongful death lawsuit seeking punitive damages for the conduct of the man who caused the fatal accident while under the influence of alcohol. The same individual was also found guilty of illegal consumption of alcohol three months after the crash.

While conviction in criminal court will never erase the pain of losing a loved one, it can help strengthen a civil case seeking damages. The laws surrounding wrongful death can be complicated to understand. By working with a reliable, knowledgeable attorney, families of victims can get the answers that they need.

Source: Belleville News Democrat, "Belleville man pleads guilty in fatal DUI crash," Sept. 23, 2011

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