Police in Chicago have arrested 44-year-old Lisa Elner on suspicion of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a Jan. 26 fatal DUI crash that killed two other women - Michelle Miranda, 37, and Sandra Frankum, 36. According to a news report in The Chicago Tribune, Miranda and Frankum were killed when the SUV in which they were traveling fell at least 50 feet from Harlem Avenue in Lyons to Canal Bank Drive in Summit. Elner, the alleged driver of the SUV, faces charges of failure to report an accident involving death, aggravated driving under the influence involving death, possession of cocaine, and other traffic charges.
Police say Elner was silent about the accident hours later when she was found walking near the entrance ramp to southbound Interstate 55 at Harlem Avenue. Elner, who was also seriously injured in the crash, was taken to a local hospital for treatment and told officials she was walking home from a bar, but told them nothing about the crash.
Failure to Report Deadly Crash
The overturned SUV was discovered about five hours after police found Elner. Piecing together evidence, police determined that the southbound SUV was approaching the I-55 ramp when it lost control, jumped a curb and crashed through a barrier before plunging down to the road below. Apparently, no one called 911 after it happened.
Based on this news report, officials say Elner allegedly survived the 50-foot plunge, but left her passengers in the vehicle for hours without care or medical attention. The article states that it was several hours before the vehicle was even found. Had the women obtained medical attention earlier, it is possible that they would have survived. Drivers have a responsibility to report any crash they are involved in right away to police and help injured victims. This help could be something as simple as calling 911.
Protecting Victims' Rights
Victims of DUI and hit-and-run crashes have rights. Families that have lost loved ones as a result of someone else's negligence and wrongdoing can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. Victims' families would also be well advised to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who will fight for their rights and ensure that the negligent parties are held liable.