A 16-year-old boy was recently taken off life support at an Illinois hospital. He suffered critical and life-threatening injuries when a car struck him as he rode his bike. The driver allegedly responsible failed to remain at the scene at the time of the accident. After the teen's death, prosecutors announced that they will upgrade the charges against the driver to include a charge for causing a fatal accident, along with a DUI charge.
Reports indicate that workers at the establishment where the man was prior to the accident believed he was intoxicated after several beers. The driver reportedly told police that he recalls several individuals on bicycles on his way home, and that he may have struck one of them. He was inquiring about the condition of that person. Furthermore, he supposedly gave a statement to police that he fled from the accident out of panic.
The charge relating to the death of the teen could mean anywhere between four and 15 years in an Illinois prison, along with the up to 30 years he could face since he has prior convictions for driving under the influence on his record. There is also a pending DUI case against the man in another county. All of these factors add up to the potential for significant penalties if convicted.
Challenging the DUI charges could make a difference in the penalties this Illinois man could face. Despite his statements to police, prosecutors must still prove this man's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Anyone accused of a crime retains the right to examine the evidence, prepare a defense and confront witnesses in court, which means that a conviction is not assured simply because charges were filed.
Source: centralillinoisproud.com, "Charges to be upgraded in hit and run case", Lindsey Harrison, Aug. 22, 2017