Aurora Woman Pleads Guilty in Fatal Cannabis-Based DUI Charge

Alia Bernard, 27, of Aurora pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI on Friday in Kane County. Bernard had allegedly been reaching for a pair of sunglasses when she rear-ended a stopped car on Illinois Route 47 in 2009. The vehicle that Bernard struck hit another vehicle waiting to make a left turn. That vehicle was pushed into the oncoming lane and into the path of motorcyclists who then struck her car. Wade and Denise Thomas, a couple from St. Charles, were killed in the accident.

Bernard’s criminal defense attorney claimed that although his client had marijuana in her system, she had not used the drug in three or four days before the accident occurred. As a result, she was not impaired at the time. However, the Illinois Supreme Court recently affirmed that any amount of an illegal substance in a driver’s system can support an aggravated DUI charge.

Bernard faces six to twenty-eight years in prison, or probation. She has no prior criminal record. Sentencing will be held on February 8 in Kane County.

Woman pleads guilty to DUI in fatal Kane County accident, www.chicagotribune.com, December 9, 2011

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