Drunk Driver Crashes Car at 142 MPH, Gets Slap On the Wrist

The remains of Suominen's car. Photo from Naperville Police Department.

Exactly how does a man charged with driving drunk at over 140 MPH who crashes his car into a billboard avoid jail time? Last month Dean A. Suominen, 37, of Shorewood was zooming down Ogden Avenue in Naperville when he lost control of his Dodge Charger and careened off the road, smashing into a billboard post and fence near an apartment complex, city officials said.

According to the Naperville Patch, first responders found Suominen trapped inside his car in a yard near the complex and extricated him. During the crash the vehicle’s engine was torn loose and thrown into a nearby parking lot. One of the tires also flew into the lot and damaged a parked car. Police found the driver’s blood alcohol level to be .20, more than twice the legal limit. His car’s computer system showed that it had been traveling at 142 MPH when it left the road.

Suominen plead guilty to misdemeanor DUI and reckless driving, the Chicago Tribune reports. The judge sentenced him to two years of supervision and 100 hours of community service but no jail time. The driver will also need to pay $3,000 in fines, fees and restitution, as well as undergoing an alcohol evaluation and attending a victim impact panel, city officials said.

Suominen is extremely lucky to be alive, but imagine what would have happened if he had been less fortunate and struck one or more innocent bystanders. Why does someone else need to be injured or killed before the law considers a car moving at a terrifyingly fast velocity to be a deadly weapon? High-speed drunk driving should not be a misdemeanor but a felony.