Update: man charged with Aggravated DUI, Joliet Police Officer charged with misdemeanor DUI in fatal crash that cost life of Berwyn Officer

Third update:  it appears that there was a chain reaction involving multiple vehicles.  According to the Sun-Times:

A man faces DUI charges in a crash Sunday on Interstate 55 that ultimately led to another collision, resulting in the death of a Berwyn police officer.

Rodrigo Marin, 42, is charged with two counts of aggravated DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to render aid, driving without valid insurance and driving on a revoked license, according to Illinois State Police. He was also cited for failure to reduce speed and improper lane usage.

Marin was driving a 2006 Nissan Titan about 6 a.m. on I-55 when he lost control and crossed into another lane, striking the left side of a 2008 Hino Box truck driven by a 44-year-old man, state police said.

Both vehicles came to a stop in the right two lanes, and Marin allegedly ran off from the crash, state police said.

While the vehicles were blocking the lanes, a Dodge Durango slammed into the box truck, state police said.

Earlier stories focused on the driver of the vehicle in which the Berwyn officer was a passenger.  That driver is a Joliet police officer, who was charged with misdemeanor DUI.

From the Chicago Tribune:

A Joliet police officer faces drunken driving charges after a Berwyn police officer who was a passenger in her car died in a crash Sunday morning on Interstate 55 in Plainfield Township, officials said.

Charles “Chuck” Schauer, 33, who died as a result of the crash around 6 a.m., had been a 10-year veteran of the Berwyn Police Department, according to a statement from the agency. Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero announced Schauer’s death in a post on social media, referring to his death as a “tragic traffic accident.”

“Please keep Officer Schauer’s family and friends, as well as all Berwyn police officers in your thoughts and prayers during this time of grief,” he wrote.

Erin Zilka, 35, of Plainfield, faces a charge of driving under the influence, according to Illinois State police. Joliet police released a statement Monday saying that Zilka, “a 12-year veteran, was involved in an off-duty vehicle crash on I-55 near Route 30 where her passenger was tragically killed.”

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Zilka’s attorney, Jeff Tomczak, said her blood-alcohol test came up under the legal limit, but declined to specify the number. He said Zilka was friends with Schauer, and was in “a really bad way.”

“She’s absolutely devastated to a degree I can’t express verbally,” Tomczak said.

He said Zilka “came upon” an earlier accident in a “darkened” part of the road before crashing.

Zilka has been an officer with Joliet police for 6 years, and had served in Shorewood for another 6 years, Tomczak said. He said she is due in court March 18.

Zilka, of Plainfield, was also cited for driving too fast for conditions, state police said.

Off-Duty Chicago Police Officer involved in fatal DUI Crash

From CBS-Chicago:

CHICAGO (CBS) — An off-duty police officer has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after his car crashed into a restaurant, killing one person in Gresham.

Marquita Reed, a nurse and mother of two, died after she was pinned underneath the car that crashed into Tony’s Philly Steak, in the 1700 block of west 87th Street…

Reed, 34, was sitting inside Tony’s Philly Steak restaurant when she was pinned underneath the car. She was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Hospital from her injuries.

Another woman inside the restaurant suffered a leg injury, and the driver suffered a neck injury.

Chicago police said the off-duty officer is 24 years old and had been on the force for three years. The off-duty officer told police he was driving east on 87th Street when another car heading west turned in front of him, and he swerved to avoid the vehicle. The off-duty officer made a sharp turn, jumped the curb, and hit the building.

“It happened so fast that I don’t even think he had time to hit the brakes,” said Jerrell Desmond, who witnessed the crash.

Police said the officer had a blood alcohol level of .083, just over the legal limit.

Read the entire story here:  https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/06/09/off-duty-officer-charged-with-dui/

“Little Women” Reality Show Star pleads guilty in fatal DUI crash

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From ABC 8 news:

A former reality star has pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in a DUI crash that killed a Coast Guardsman in November of 2017.

Virginia State Police say Melissa Hancock was driving the wrong way in the eastbound lanes on I-264 when she hit a Mazda head-on.

The driver of the Mazda, 29-year-old Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Dill, of Suffolk, died at the hospital.

 

 

…Court records show Hancock’s preliminary breath test yielded a blood alcohol level of 0.19, more than double the legal limit of 0.08. Hancock reportedly told state police she had two to four mixed drinks at Peabody’s about an hour before the crash.

 

…Hancock, a former reality star who was on the show “Little Women, Atlanta,” faces 21 years behind bars.  She will be sentenced October 10.

Chicago Traffic Deaths up in 2017; is it because of distracted driving or just a blip?

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The Chicago Tribune has a front page story today by Mary Wisniewski about the rise in Chicago traffic deaths in 2017, 133 compared to 113 in 2016, an 18 per cent increase.

The article blames distracted driving, distracted pedestrians, low gas prices, a better economy, higher speeds and alcohol use.

But …

The story also notes that the average death toll from 2011 to 2015 was 126.2.  So why is Ms. Wisniewski comparing 2017 to one unusually low year instead of comparing it to the entire decade, which would provide a more useful comparison?  Indeed, when you combine the 2016 and 2017 death tolls and divide them by 2, you get an average of 123 — still lower than the 2011-15 average.  Maybe 2016 was just an outlier.

Comparing 2011-2015 to 2016-17, the numbers are virtually identical, within the margin of error.  But that wouldn’t be front-page worthy.

My concern is that someone in the state legislature will see the front-page headline and assume that there is a crisis when there isn’t a crisis.  This is how bad laws get enacted.

NFL player Edwin Jackson killed in accident with suspected drunk, undocumented, twice deported driver

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From the Indianapolis Star:

Indianapolis Colts player Edwin Jackson and an Uber driver were both killed early Sunday after being struck by a suspected drunken driver along Interstate 70.

According to the Indiana State Police, the crash happened shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday along the westbound lanes of I-70, just west of Holt Road.

Police said Jackson and 54-year-old Jeffrey Monroe of Avon were standing near a stopped vehicle when a black Ford F-150 pickup truck drove onto the emergency shoulder and struck them both.

The driver accused of killing Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe was an undocumented immigrant who used a fake name and has been deported twice in the past.

Indiana State Police detectives have determined the driver was 37-year-old Manuel Orrego-Savala, a citizen of Guatemala. He gave police the alias Alex Cabrera Gonsales after the early Sunday crash that killed Jackson and Monroe.

Officials said he had been deported in 2007 and in 2009

Read the entire story here:  https://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2018/02/04/suspected-drunken-driver-kills-2-70/304726002/

More details about “Little Women” star charged in fatal DUI crash

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the victim in the fatal crash was a 29 year old Coast Guardsman, Daniel Dill.

From the Journal-Constitution:

On his wife’s 27th birthday, Daniel Dill was acting as designated driver for her and her friends and was on his way to pick them up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, around 2 a.m. when Hancock, 25, allegedly hit his car head-on while driving on the wrong side of the interstate. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors determined he had suffered a major spinal cord injury, brain swelling, internal injuries and broken bones.

After doctors revealed his prognosis, Dill’s family made the decision to withdraw care, and he passed away just after midnight on Sunday. Meanwhile, police arrested and charged Hancock with DUI maiming, but the charge may be upgraded to DUI manslaughter, according to a spokeswoman for the commonwealth’s attorney.

Hancock, who was featured on the reality TV series in Season 2, reportedly told a state trooper that she had consumed four mixed drinks at a club an hour before driving. Her blood alcohol content was 0.112 two hours later, and she stands at just 4 feet tall. She was granted a $15,000 bond at a court hearing and was ordered to wear a GPS device that also tracks alcohol intake.

“Little Women” Reality Star arrested for Fatal DUI crash

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From TMZ:

Melissa Hancock — who’s been featured on “Little Women: Atlanta” — was allegedly driving the car that killed a man in a head-on crash and she’s been arrested for DUI.

Virginia State Police say Hancock collided head-on with a 29-year-old male driver Saturday morning while going the wrong way on a one-way street. Cops were called to the scene after 2 AM and arrested Hancock. The man died later at the hospital.

Hancock’s been charged with DUI/maiming and driving the wrong way. She’s reportedly being held without bail in a Virginia Beach jail.