In the past week, a northern Illinois mother has been sentenced to 45 days in jail and 4 years of probation due to a fatal DUI crash that killed her 9-month old daughter and injured three other young children in the beginning of 2008.
At the time, the offender was driving with her four children on the East 2750th Road in Northville Township when the Plymoth Voyager she was driving struck a La Salle County Highway Department snowplow. The snowplow’s operator was badly injured and the three other children were treated at Valley West Community Hospital in Sandwich. Soon after, she was charged with aggravated driving under the influence resulting in death.
Circuit Judge Cynthia Raccuglia sentenced Burgess to 90 days in La Salle County jail and an additional for years on probation. If she exhibits good behavior, she will likely only receive 45 days. In court, the offending woman pleaded for leniency. She was in tears explaining that she takes full responsibility for her daughter’s death and explained how much she had endured with her own injuries. According to the offender, she had undergone sixteen surgeries since the accident and a lot of physical and mental recovery. Her defense attorney fought against the incarceration, explaining that the offender is a good mother and not a danger to anyone.
Judge Raccuglia said state statutes are written “to stop drunk drivers from killing people” and recognized the “horrific scenario” of a mother causing the death of her own child. “However the .23 alcohol level at the time of the accident troubles me,” she said. Raccuglia concluded Burgess needed to be placed behind bars to fully understand the consequences of her actions. La Salle County prosecutor Matt Kidder had asked for four and a half years in prison.