Train service knocked out by alleged drunk driver in Illinois

Service on the South Chicago branch of Metra's Electric District was knocked out after an allegedly drunk semi-truck driver crashed into a support for the line's electric wires on Dec. 14. The accident occurred around 5:30 p.m.

According to Metra officials and the Chicago police, the male truck driver, age 40, was traveling southbound on the 7400 block of South Exchange when he smashed into a pillar that was holding overhead electrical wires. Service to all trains between the Stony Island Station and the 93rd Street Station was interrupted. Metra crews worked throughout the night to repair the damage, and service was restored at around 3:50 a.m.

The semi-truck driver, who resides on the 8500 block of South Muskegon Avenue, was detained and charged with unlawful damage to a structure and drunk driving. He is slated to appear in court on Jan. 15.

The penalties for a drunk driving conviction can include fines, jail time and license suspension. If the defendant has a previous history of DWI, they could also be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle at their own expense. However, anyone arrested for DWI has the right to retain an attorney to defend their interests in court. The evidence against a defendant could be weak, vague or incomplete, and the tests authorities use to prove impairment in court are not infallible. A lawyer may be able to challenge such evidence, which could lead to a reduction or dismissal of charges. In some cases, it may also be possible for a lawyer to negotiate a plea deal for a more favorable sentence.

Source: The Chicago Tribune, "Metra Electric service restored after drunken driving suspect hits pillar," Quinn Ford and Jeremy Gorner, Dec. 15, 2014

Source: myFOXchicago.com, "Service restored on Metra Electric line after semi hits power lines", December 20, 2014

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