Man in Des Plaines DUI hit and run has 16 prior DUI convictions

Somehow, a man whose rap sheet shows 13 prior felony convictions and a total of 16  DUI convictions was out on the streets to commit another offense.  And, in what should perhaps not be considered surprising news, he allegedly got drunk, crashed a car and drove off.

From the Chicago Tribune (story by George Houde):

A man with 16 DUI convictions on his record has been charged with drunken driving again after fleeing from a crash and handing officers a phony license, authorities said.

Christopher Clingingsmith, 51, of Des Plaines, was charged with aggravated DUI and possession of fictitious identification after he was arrested Wednesday, according to Cook County prosecutors.

They said he had been involved in a crash in Des Plaines, fled the scene, and after police tracked him down in Arlington Heights, he failed sobriety tests and told police he’d consumed seven beers.

Prosecutors said Clingingsmith has 13 felony convictions on his record, including DUI, possession of a controlled substance, aggravated fleeing and alluding and criminal damage to property, and has served prison time. The first of his drunken-driving convictions was in 1982, authorities said, and he has been found guilty of DUI, including felonies and misdemeanors, in Will, Peoria and Tazewell counties, among others, according to prosecutors and court records.

Clingingsmith was ordered in court Thursday to be held in Cook County Jail on a $400,000 bond.

The story does not state when was Mr. Clingingsmith’s last conviction and what sentence did he receive.  A sixth or greater DUI is a Class X felony — the highest level of felony except for first degree murder. Class X felonies are punishable from six to thirty years — but that time can be extended if a person has committed a previous Class X, and a person can get a life sentence if they have had two prior Class X offenses.  So a person on DUI number 16 should have received a lengthy prison sentence, don’t you think?  So why is this guy out endangering the lives of others?  I’d like to know.

I also have to wonder about a person, who after being convicted so many times, still thinks it is a good idea to take his car to the bar or wherever he went to get drunk, knowing that the next time he gets caught he could end up with a life sentence.  That is a pretty good incentive to hire an Uber, don’t you think?

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