Expert: Driver in fatal crash was over limit
WOODSTOCK – Based on crime lab test results, a toxicologist testified Wednesday that Daniel Bending was legally drunk when he struck and killed a pedestrian with his car in 2008.
Forensic scientist Jacquelyn Provenzale said she tested a blood sample taken from Bending about two and a half hours after the incident and determined that the blood-alcohol content was 0.081, slightly over the legal limit of 0.08.
Dr. Daniel J. Brown, a private toxicologist formerly with the Illinois State Police Crime Lab, then relied on that measurement to determine the BAC at 8:50 p.m., when 77-year-old Leonard Anderson was hit.
The level was at 0.117, Brown said, adding that Bending likely had seven, possibly eight, alcoholic drinks.
The remaining charges against Bending, 49, of Marengo, are two counts of aggravated driving under the influence. At the start of the trial, prosecutors dropped one count of reckless homicide.
Anderson was struck by Bending's 1998 Monte Carlo on April 18, 2008, and died about three weeks later on May 11.
Anderson, a truck driver, had parked his semi to deal with a windshield wiper problem before going to a nearby convenience store for coffee, prosecutors said.
Bending's defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Kim Messer, has said that it was a "sad coincidence" that Anderson happened to be crossing the road on a rainy night at the same moment Bending was lighting a cigarette and returning the lighter.
It wasn't the injuries from the accident that killed Anderson, she said, but his own health problems. He was suffering from delirium tremens, or DTs, and had a heart attack about nine days before he died.
A treating physician at Centegra Hospital - Woodstock, Dr. Syed Asghar, confirmed that Anderson was treated for withdrawal symptoms, but also said that Anderson's BAC was "negligible."
Asghar said that he believed there was a connection between the injuries Anderson suffered from being hit by the car and the heart attack.
Prosecutors are expected to call additional doctors to the stand today before resting their case. The defense's witnesses are scheduled to begin testifying Friday.
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