Sunday, June 2, 2013

Driver In Fatal Crash To Face 5 Criminal Charges Including Reckless Homicide and Aggravated DUI

In a case like the tragic one involving Bobby Cann, there are two parts of the legal system that are engaged. One is the civil justice systems where the family of the victim can proceed with a Wrongful Death lawsuit against the driver. The second is the criminal justice system where the driver will face the charges from prosecutors for the crimes committed.

Ryne Sanhamel, a 28-year old resident of Park Ridge, has been charged in the death of Chicago bicyclist Bobby Cann. Prosecutors have "thrown the book" at Sanhamel and charged him with several counts for his actions that led to the death of Bobby Cann. Prosecutors have charged Sanhamel with (1) reckless homicide; (2) aggravated DUI involving death; (3) misdemeanor DUI; (4) misdemeanor reckless driving and (5) failure to stay in the lane while driving. Here is a general explanation of these five charges.
  1. Reckless homicide is when a person unintentionally kills another person while behaving recklessly. Unintentionally means that there was no criminal intent to kill the person. Reckless means that the person was acting with total disregard for the safety and welfare of others. The difference between a murder charge and a reckless homicide charge is the idea of "criminal intent" and whether the person was actually setting out to kill the other person.
  2.  Aggravated DUI involving death is a more serious charge that a regular DUI. Aggravated DUI is where the drunk driver caused great bodily harm to the other person or, as in this case, caused the death of another person. 
  3. Misdemeanor DUI is for driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit of .08. This charge is made for the act of drunk driving itself, the aggravated DUI charge is for committing the act of drunk driving and hurting or killing another person. 
  4. Reckless driving is driving with "wilfull or wanton disregard" for the safety of other persons. In simple terms, "wilfull or wanton" means that the driver wasn't just making a minor traffic violation, but driving in such a matter that the health and safety of the people around them in other vehicles and on the street are at risk. 
  5. Failure to stay in lane is a relatively simple charge against the driver for failing to keep his vehicle in the same lane in which he was traveling. This is another example of the prosecutor's charging the driver in this case with not only the most serious charges, but also the basic driving violation's as well.
At this juncture the driver will either have to post bond or remain in jail. Afterwards, he will have to make a decision to plea guilty to charges or to face a trial. If he pleads guilty or is found guilty of the charges the judge will then make a decision as to whether he will face jail time and for how long.

Nothing will ever fully provide "justice" for this loss of a person who has been described in loving and glowing terms by those that knew him. But it is somewhat reassuring to know that the prosecutors are appropriately taking this case very seriously and placing enhanced charges against the criminal motorist. 

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Keating Law Offices has been the lead attorneys on many high profile bicycle crash cases. The firm is nationally recognized for its leadership in the field of bicycle law litigation.