A Zion man who said in court he is "truly sorry" for causing a crash last year that killed a 54-year-old Hainesville woman was sentenced Monday to six years in prison for drunken driving.
Shawn Flores, 26, of the 4200 block of Bluebird Avenue, also said he was holding himself accountable for the crash, and vowed to "never make the same mistake again."
Flores pleaded guilty Dec. 22 to an aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol charge stemming from the two-car collision that killed Malia A. Johnson. Additional counts of aggravated DUI and reckless homicide were dropped as part of a plea deal.
The deadly head-on crash occurred shortly before 11 p.m. May 13, along Route 120 near Battershall Road in Grayslake. Authorities said Johnson was traveling west on Route 120 after taking her niece to a concert at the Genesee Theater in Waukegan when an vehicle headed east, driven by Flores, swerved into her lane.
Johnson was taken by paramedics to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where she was pronounced dead about 90 minutes later. Her niece suffered a broken leg in the crash.
Attorneys said in court Monday that tests showed Flores had a .12 blood alcohol content at the time of the crash. The legal threshold is .08. Further testing showed he had a .09 level two hours after the crash, attorneys said.
Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Ben Dillon said Flores was driving 74 mph in a 35 mph zone and also had traces of marijuana and prescription medication in his system when the collision occurred.
Johnson's son, Justin Gilbertsen, said in court Monday that his mother was the most important person in his life and he thinks about her every day.
"My mom didn't die that day, she was murdered," he said while wiping away tears on the witness stand. "She was the most unselfish person in my life. She only cared about other people."
Flores must serve 85 percent of his six-year sentence before being eligible for parole.
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