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Mokena man gets 12 years for DUI crash that killed 2 women

Published: Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 9:19 a.m. CDT

JOLIET - a Mokena man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for a drunken driving collision that killed a 72-year-old woman and her 92-year-old mother in August of 2011.

Joseph E. Slattery, 27, of 20016 Lakeview Way, Mokena, was driving his Chevrolet Cavalier while intoxicated around 8 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2011, on LaGrange Road, just north of Wilmington-Peotone Road, when he veered over the center line and struck another vehicle with three occupants.

The driver of that vehicle, Margaret Simons, 72, was pronounced dead at the scene. Another passenger, Suzanne Thompson, 92, who was Margaret Simons’ mother, suffered severe bilateral pelvic fractures and was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, where she was pronounced dead three hours after the crash.

The third passenger, Ralph Simons, who was 42 at the time, suffered a fractured left hip and left hand and was hospitalized for 13 days. Ralph Simons is an adult with special needs who lives in a residential care facility.

At the time of the crash, Slattery was driving with his girlfriend and their 18-month-old son. The child was treated at St. Mary’s for a facial abrasion and contusion; the mother appeared unharmed. An empty carton of Bud Light was found in the vehicle, although there were no actual containers in the car.

The defendant’s blood-alcohol level was .092 shortly after the accident and a blood test for opiates was positive.  Slattery admitted to taking a friend’s Vicodin two nights before.

Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak imposed the sentence after hearing emotional statements from the family of the victims.

“Joseph Slattery’s decision to drive drunk showed a callous disregard for the safety of other motorists, and his actions cost two women their lives,” Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said. “He should spend his time in prison contemplating the horrific results of his crime.”

Glasgow credited prosecutors Frank Byers and Tom Slazyk for securing an important conviction and sentence. In addition, he credited Illinois State Police Trooper Sam Heenan, who was the officer on the scene, and Sgt. Dustin Geier, who performed the accident reconstruction component of the investigation, for their important work on this case.

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