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Man sentenced to 12 years for Kansas Expressway DWI death

The loss of a loved one in a fatal accident is magnified when the accident is a result of negligence. Losing a loved one not only impacts the emotional well-being of surviving family members, but it also can negatively affect the financial stability of the household. If the deceased was the primary wage earner, his or her death can leave a financial hole for those left behind. Compensation gained through a wrongful death lawsuit can help a spouse or surviving minor children financially so they are able to focus on coping with their loss and not how their monthly bills will be covered.

A 32-year-old Illinois man will spend the next 12 years of his life in prison for the October 2010 drunk-driving death of a 55-year-old hospice nurse.

Reports state that the negligent driver was speeding when his car struck another vehicle at Mount Vernon Street and Kansas Expressway in nearby Springfield. Investigators determined the driver hit speeds of 72 to 92 mph just prior to the fatal crash.

When questioned by authorities, the defendant told police he was "a little buzzed" when the accident occurred. The man's blood alcohol content registered 0.159, a BAC almost twice the limit of intoxication for the state of Kansas.

The violent impact shoved the victim's car into a utility pole. The woman's vehicle caught fire. Emergency personnel pronounced the woman dead at the scene of the tragedy.

The drunk driver was seriously injured. He was hospitalized with a collapsed lung and a fractured hip and ankle.

The victim's family requested the maximum sentence during their statements at the sentencing hearing. The man apologized to the nurse's family and friends in the courtroom, which elicited no effect beyond grief. The victim's niece told the judge that the apology was no substitute for the life of her aunt.

Other family members spoke of the nurse's compassionate personality and a last act of helping an elderly person to a car. Relatives mentioned the hospice nurse's job dedication. The victim had been named Nurse of the Year twice at her workplace.

Criminal courts ensure the guilty are punished. Victims and families are comforted in part by a suspect's admission of guilt or a jury's verdict. Civil courts redress victims' grievances, which can be financial losses or personal pain and suffering due to negligence.

Source:, "Springfield man apologizes for actions in fatal car crash," Jess Rollins, June 18, 2012

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