Many psychotropic medications have helped people in southern Illinois and elsewhere cope with disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, people who take the drugs often develop a dependence that may become an addiction. Because many of these drugs interfere with the brain’s ability to control muscle function, an addiction to one of these drugs can lead to disastrous consequences. One such consequence occurred on I-255 near Godfrey when a driver’s use of benzodiazepines lead to a head-on crash and one fatality.
A 22-year old woman was driving south when, according to witnesses, she made a U-turn into the northbound lane. While she was driving in the northbound lane, she allegedly collided with two other vehicles. One of the drivers was pronounced dead at the scene, and the other driver was taken to a nearby hospital. The wrong-way driver was airlifted to the hospital.
The woman’s blood was taken while she was at the hospital and it was determined that she was under the influence of benzodiazepines, a widely-prescribed anti-anxiety medication. After receiving the toxicology report, prosecutors charged the woman with aggravated DUI causing death, aggravated DUI, reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving.
If the defendant is convicted of any of the pending charges, she could face permanent loss of driving privileges, lengthy prison time and a significant fine. Anyone facing similar charges may wish to consult an experienced DUI defense attorney for an appraisal of the evidence and law that will govern the case and for an estimate of the likelihood of negotiating a favorable plea agreement or obtaining an outright acquittal.
Source: Belleville News-Democrat, “Godfrey woman had drugs in system in fatal I-255 crash, charges say,” Kara Berg, March 12, 2018