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Driving while drunk can bring with it a host of problems. Driving at excessive speeds can do the same. When the two are combined it can be a recipe for disaster that results in a fatal car accident and possibly criminal charges.

An Illinois man was convicted recently on charges he was driving drunk when he caused a four-car accident that resulted in the death of a passenger in one of the cars. The man's blood alcohol level was nearly twice that allowed by law when he ran into the back of a car waiting in line at a traffic light. The impact started a chain reaction that forced each vehicle into the car in front of it. A total of four cars were involved.

A 40-year-old woman was injured in the accident and taken to an Illinois hospital. She died there the next day. The drivers in the four cars involved, including the man found responsible, all suffered injuries in the incident. They were treated at a local healthcare facility as were a total of five passengers.

Evidence gathered at the scene of the accident and from the data recorder installed in the man's car indicates that he was driving more than 100 mph just seconds before the crash occurred. The man did not seem to slow down appreciably before the accident. Officials estimate he was going about 90 mph upon impact.

The man was tried through a bench trial. This is a trial in which the judge determines a verdict based on evidence to which both the prosecution and defense teams agree. He faces a maximum sentence of 14 years.

In addition to prison time, the man could also face a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of the woman who died. He could also be named in multiple personal injury lawsuits by the people who suffered non-fatal harm in this tragic car accident. None of that will erase what happened, but, if successful, it could help provide much-needed resources to everyone who was affected adversely.

Source: Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, Judge convicts man of causing accident, Dave Fopay, Feb. 4, 2014

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