A sixth-grade girl has been killed and four others have been injured in a Garfield Ridge drunk-driving crash on Chicago’s Southwest Side.
Driver Veered Into Oncoming Traffic
The fatal crash took place at approximately 9:35 p.m. on January 20, 2021. Twelve-year-old Cire Robinson of Oak Lawn was riding with her father in a Cadillac Escalade on the 4900 block of South Cicero Avenue. They were returning home from a visit with her grandfather, who is recovering from COVID-19.
At that time, 27-year-old Daniel Regalado was driving a Chevy Impala in the opposite direction when he veered into oncoming traffic and collided with the Escalade head on. An approaching Toyota RAV4 was unable to stop and also struck the Escalade.
Cire was pronounced dead approximately an hour later at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. An autopsy by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that she died of injuries related to the Garfield Ridge drunk-driving crash.
Her father remains hospitalized for critical injuries, including bleeding on the brain and a broken foot. Additionally, Regalado and two female passengers in the Impala, ages 19 and 21, were taken to area hospitals in serious or critical condition. The driver of the RAV4 refused treatment.
Multiple Charges in Garfield Ridge Drunk-Driving Crash
Investigators later determined that Regalado, a Little Village resident, had been traveling at 52 miles per hour at the time of the Garfield Ridge drunk-driving crash. According to prosecutors, his blood alcohol level registered at 0.457 percent, more than five times the legal limit.
On Saturday, a judge set bail for Regalado at $500,000.00. He faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges, including aggravated driving under the influence and reckless homicide for the death of Cire Robinson. He had already been charged with three separate felonies prior to the Garfield Ridge drunk-driving crash, including unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and manufacture and delivery of cannabis.
Dangers of Driving Drunk
There are more than one million DUI arrests in the United States each year, and that number only represents about one percent of the total incidents of drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk-driving crashes claim over 10,000 lives annually. That is nearly thirty deaths per day, or one person every 53 minutes, and the number of non-fatal injuries is even higher. In 2010 alone, the most recent year for which data is available, these deaths and related damages contributed to a societal cost of $44 billion.
Alcohol consumption reduces brain functioning, which impairs thinking, reasoning, and coordination. These are all critical faculties for operating a motor vehicle safely. As a result, drunk drivers routinely engage in some of the riskiest behaviors on the road, including improper lane usage and speeding, and the injuries that result from drunk-driving crashes may be catastrophic, as in the tragic case of Cire Robinson and her father.
Seeking Compensation in a Drunk-Driving Crash
If you have been hurt by the negligent actions of a drunk driver in Illinois, there may be multiple avenues of financial recovery available. You could try to obtain compensation from the relevant car insurance policies, and you might also seek damages from any commercial establishment that overserved the driver by pursuing a Dram Shop claim, if applicable.
Bartenders and waiters are supposed to look out for signs of intoxication in their customers and “cut them off.” If they do not, there could be serious consequences. To address this concern, the State of Illinois passed Section 6-21 of the Liquor Control Act of 1934, known as the “Dram Shop Act.” Under the Act, a person who has been injured by an intoxicated individual can hold the bar, restaurant, club, or vendor that supply the alcoholic beverages financially liable, provided that:
- The vendor sold alcohol to the party who caused the injury;
- The alcohol that the vendor sold either caused or materially contributed to the party’s intoxication; and
- The intoxication that resulted from the vendor selling that alcohol was the “proximate cause” of the victim’s injuries.
Fighting for Chicago Drunk-Driving Victims
Where an injured person can obtain compensation in a drunk-driving accident hinges upon the identification of all the parties responsible within the time allotted by law. This is known as the Statute of Limitations, and it is only one year in an Illinois Dram Shop case. Failure to bring suit or resolve a claim within the Statute of Limitations will likely result in a plaintiff being forever barred from doing so.
For this reason, if you are the innocent victim of a drunk-driving accident, consider doing what so many others in your situation have done before you and turn to the drunk-driving accident lawyers at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With more than $2 billion recovered for our clients in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. Our Chicago car accident lawyers have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation of success necessary to get you and your family the justice you deserve.