May 2011 News: The Chicago DUI Law Blog

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May 2011 Archives

ESPN's Harry Teinowitz Guilty of DUI, Avoids Jail

ESPN radio personality Harry Teinowitz pleaded guilty to DUI, but will avoid going to jail. Instead, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Teinowitz will serve 18 months of conditional discharge and 240 hours of community service.

Harry Teinowitz's DUI conviction stems from a March incident where a witness called 911 to report Teinowitz's erratic driving. According to the Sun-Times, Teinowitz had entered the Edens Expressway and almost struck the witness's car before he dangerously swerved his car across several lanes of traffic.

Dwight Washington, a truck driver for the city of Chicago, allegedly had an open bottle of brandy and twice the legal blood alcohol level at the time he plowed a city truck into seven pedestrians on a crowded sidewalk. Now, MyFox Chicago is reporting that victims of the crash have sued both Washington and the city.

According to Fox, Washington was driving a city-owned Ford F-150 pickup truck around noon in the crowded Gold Coast neighborhood. Eyewitness accounts report Washington driving at an excessive speed when he lost control of the truck and drove into a crowd of people on the sidewalk. Prosecutors stated that Washington had an open bottle of E&J Brandy next to him at the time of the accident and that he had a 0.183 blood alcohol level (twice the legal limit).

Cecil Conner's Lawyer Requests New DUI Trial

Attorney Jeff Tomczak, who represented Steger local Cecil Conner in his latest DUI case, contends that his client deserves a new DUI trial because police had recorded Conner’s phone conversations while he was at the Will County Jail. Tomczak further argued that prosecutors did not released the tape recordings to him throughout the process of Conner’s trial.

“This is a very significant discovery violation,” stated Tomczak after Will County Court hearing. A hearing for Tomczak’s request for a new DUI trial is expected next week.

But the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Will County sheriff’s spokesperson Ken Kaupas said Conner’s phone conversations have been recorded at the prison since 2006, adding that multiple signs were present throughout the jail that said such recordings were done.

Underage Drinking Even Under Adult Supervision Is Still Harmful

Although some Chicago parents may believe that allowing their teens to drink alcohol while under adult supervision might teach their children how to drink responsibly, a study conducted by the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs revealed that this kind of setting might actually cause more harm than good.

Barbara J. McMorris, the lead investigator of the study at Minneapolis' School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota, explained that many parents face a difficult choice between letting their children drink under their supervision and allowing them to go out while risking the chance their teen may drink in an unsupervised setting.

Young Michael Ditka Faces Upgraded Charge For Aggravated DUI

Court documents revealed that the latest drunk driving charge against Michael P. Ditka was recently upgraded to a felony due to two previous DUI charges that were filed against him in Lake County. Ditka, the son of former Bears coach Mike Ditka, also had another earlier DUI arrest in Cook County when he was younger, which brings his total number of DUI charges to at least four.

With the younger Ditka's most recent DUI case, the Chicago Tribune reported that his upgraded charge of aggravated DUI means he will no longer be permitted to drive while he waits for the outcome of his case.

Forty-seven-year-old tour bus driver David Soto, a Northwest Side local who faces sex assault charges in two separate cases involving children, was recently accused of driving under the influence after he struck and killed Justyna Palka, 26, as she walked along in Streeterville.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Soto, who worked for the tour bus company Pontarelli Group Charter, told paramedics he was trying to make a right turn when he hit Palka and claimed he did not see her. But Assistant Cook County State Attorney Morgan Creppel said Palka was about four or five steps into the crosswalk when the car accident occurred.

Chicago Drivers: Have a Designated Driver This Cinco De Mayo

About 43 percent of all road fatalities that occurred on May 5 overnight and early the following day between 2002 and 2006 were a result of drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. With thousands of people celebrating Cinco de Mayo, law enforcement officials are reminding Chicago motorists to designate a sober driver before taking part in any festivities.

To encourage residents to select a designated driver this Cinco de Mayo, the TribLocal reported federal, state, and local police officers are working together with NHTSA to promote the campaign Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk. Chicago Police will also perform a Roadside Safety Check at the Grand District on W. North Avenue on May 6 and 7 to check for people who may be drunk driving.

Kimberly Bradley Faces DUI Charges For West Side Car Accident

Thirty-nine-year-old Kimberly Bradley was allegedly inebriated with a blood alcohol level over twice the legal limit when she slammed her SUV into another vehicle in Chicago’s West Side. According to My Fox Chicago, two people died in the brutal DUI car accident while 9 others suffered serious injuries.

Prosecutors said some of the victims who were hospitalized were left with fractures, gashes, and back, lung and brain injuries. Three individuals remained in critical condition and had to be kept intubated on a ventilator.