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Two weeks ago, a DuPage County prosecutor was killed in a car crash in which she crossed over the center line. The prosecutor had been drinking most of the afternoon, and had a .25 blood alcohol level at the time of the crash. Recent news accounts show that she was also driving a county-owned vehicle at the time of the crash and had been making a series of work-related phone calls on her cell phone.

The driver who she hit suffered a fractured leg and had to undergo surgery.

The loss of this dedicated prosecutor is tragedy for all involved. It also shows that even those who should be most aware of the effects of alcohol on the ability to drive can be guilty of a tragic lapse in judgment.

The next issue that will come from this is the legal responsibility for compensating those who were injured in the crash. The bar which they were drinking at will certainly be subject to liability under the Dram Shop Act.

The more interesting question is whether the county will be required to pay for the damages arising from this accident. Because the insurance coverage for accidnetal injury normally tracks the vehicles, the county, even though likely self-insured, will probably have to pay the damages owed to the injured driver. Also, if it can be shown that she was making work-related calls at the time of the crash, that would also likely subject the county to liability as well.

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