Five-year prison sentence for fatal DUI
WOODSTOCK – A Marengo man was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for driving drunk and fatally striking an elderly truck driver who was crossing the street.
In June, a jury found Daniel K. Bending, 49, guilty of aggravated DUI for the incident on April 18, 2008. Bending had faced between three and 14 years in prison.
Leonard Anderson, 77, parked his semi along Route 20 in Marengo to deal with a windshield wiper problem on the rainy evening. He got out of his truck and went to a nearby convenience store to use the phone and get coffee.
About 8:45 p.m., he was struck by Bending’s 1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
Bending, who stopped his car down the street, did not take a Breathalyzer test, but crime lab results showed that his blood-alcohol content about 2 1/2 hours later was .081.
Two of Anderson's relatives spoke at the sentencing, including his daughter, Denise Pattison.
"His home was a place where the door was always open when you needed a place to stay," she said. "He still had a life to live with his family and friends."
In handing down his sentence, McHenry County Judge Joseph Condon acknowledged that while on bond for about three years, Bending passed nearly 92 tests for alcohol.
Bending only briefly addressed the courtroom and apologized, but he wrote a more elaborate statement admitting fault and accepting the sentence. The majority of defendants don't do that, and instead try to justify their actions, Condon said.
However, Condon also highlighted an incident in November 2008, after Anderson was struck and killed. A DUI charge against Bending had been dropped and he had not yet been indicted on the more serious offense when he was found passed out in the street, blocking traffic.
"Alcohol has a significant pull on this man," Condon said. "This is tragically another instance of excessive alcohol consumption, then getting behind the wheel of a car."