April 2011 News: The Chicago DUI Law Blog

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April 2011 Archives

AG Lisa Madigan Asks Pabst To Lessen Alcohol In Blast

A new alcoholic drink by Colt 45 called Blast has raised plenty of concern among Illinois' top lawyers, who claim the beverage is targeted towards minors and poses serious health risks.

Although the sweetened beverage comes in multiple flavors, including grape and blueberry, it also contains 12 percent alcohol, which means consuming a 24 ounce can is almost equivalent to drinking five beers, according to KGET TV 17.

"The concern is that apparently the flavor is like a fruit juice or a punch so it doesn't remind you of the alcohol you are drinking," said Dr. Claudia Jonah of the Kern County Department of Public Health.

Evidence Of Marijuana Found In Alia Bernard's DUI Case

Kane County Judge Allen Anderson ruled that the DUI trial of Aurora local Alia Bernard, 26, might include evidence that she had marijuana in her system during a fatal car accident that killed motorcyclists Denise and Wade Thomas in May 2009. The Chicago Tribune reported Bernard is expected to go on trial in June on charges involving misdemeanor DUI and reckless homicide.

Prosecutors said they did not believe Bernard was impaired at the time of the car accident, although tests taken after the crash revealed she had pot in her system. They contended that the accident was a result of careless driving.

Nancy Spencer Charged With Felony DUI In Fatal Car Accident

Thirty-three-year-old Nancy Spencer was charged with a felony DUI following a fatal car accident that occurred in Chicago's Roseland neighborhood last November. Spencer was allegedly driving drunk with passengers Lavashia Penn, 34, and Penn's son, Damari McCaster, 13, in the car. The three were heading home from the funeral of the boy's grandmother in South Side.

Spencer, who was a friend of Lavashia Penn, was initially cited with misdemeanor DUI after the collision until she appeared in Traffic Court earlier this week. Court records revealed authorities ended up arresting Spencer and charged her with two counts of aggravated DUI involving a death, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Beer Companies and Programs Against Drunk Driving

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In acknowledging April as National Alcohol Awareness Month, Beer Institute President Joe McClain has highlighted the commitment and long-term efforts many importers and brewers have made to help battle drunk driving and underage drinking.

According to PR Newswire, the beer industry has invested considerably in various campaigns and programs promoting alcohol prevention and education and public safety in Chicago and across the country, such as:

  • One Million Strong, established in 2010 by MillerCoors. It encourages consumers to plan a safe ride home through the Miller Lite Free Rides program or make a pledge to be a responsible drinker on GreatBeerGreatResponsibility.com, which already has 423,018 pledges.

Angus Lake Charged With Aggravated DUI For Fatal Racetrack Accident

Prosecutors have accused 41-year-old Angus D. Lake of driving drunk after he allegedly ran his truck into a horse at the Balmoral Park Racetrack in Crete, killing his girlfriend Michelle Eustis, 25. My Fox Chicago reported Lake is now facing a jail term of up 14 years for each DUI count against him for her death.

Lake supposedly had "five or six shots" of liquor in a barn at the racetrack with Eustis and 21-year-old Heather France when the two women decided to ride bareback on a horse. Lake went to look for them half an hour later in his pickup truck, but he slammed on the brakes hard as he approached the horse from behind. The vehicle ended up spinning around and knocked the horse down.

Oak Forest Man Dances During DUI Field Sobriety Test

Sometimes, Chicago area police may encounter a rather unusual DUI arrest that might stand out from the norm. Recent reports from Will County Sheriff's Police and Orland Park Police revealed one particular incident where a DUI suspect suddenly decided to show off his dance moves before authorities arrested him.

According to the TribLocal, a 50-year-old man from Oak Forest with a blood-alcohol content level well above the legal limit of 0.08 percent was pulled over and suspected of driving drunk. Orland Park Police eventually found three 12-ounce bottles of beer from a 12-pack case in the man's vehicle, one of the bottles was half-full while the other two were empty.

Former Cop Edward Stapinksi Pleads Guilty To Aggravated DUI

Former Lockport police officer Edward Stapinksi, 36, recently admitted to driving drunk in December 2009 and causing a fatal car crash that killed 29-year-old Man K. "Mike" Wong. The Chicago Tribune reported Stapinksi pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI before Cook County Judge Colene Hyland.

Stapinksi, who had served as an officer for 7 ½ years, had also initially faced reckless homicide charges, but court records showed they were dismissed as part of the guilty plea. However, Judge Hyland decided to sentence Stapinksi to six years in behind bars and ordered that he serve 85 percent of his prison term.

Romeoville High School Teacher Jeff Kuna Charged With DUI

As some Chicago locals may have heard, sources say the Valley View School District has allegedly reassigned former driver's ed teacher and head football coach Jeff Kuna to only managing physical education classes at Romeoville High School after the district discovered he was arrested for drunken driving this past February.

Kendall County Sheriff's Deputy Craig French said Kuna, a 38-year-old resident of Plainfield, was driving a pickup truck with three other passengers when police officials caught him speeding at 68 mph in a 55-mph zone around Schlapp road. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, he failed a field sobriety test and was charged with DUI.