By John Clark
A Chicago limo driver was arrested for a DUI this week while driving 23 high school students to their prom, according to a report this week from the Chicago Sun-Times.
The driver, 54-year-old Richard Madison raised his passengers’ suspicions from the beginning of the trip, according to several teenagers who were in the car at the time of the arrest.
According to Kelly Dano, one of the passengers, Madison appeared “sketch” at the start of the trip, which included a jump over a median, near collisions with at least three cars, and a trip to the wrong hotel.
During the harrowing trip, several of the students called their parents to complain about Madison’s driving, and a few upset parents promptly notified police, who confronted Madison once he arrived at the proper hotel.
When they approached Madison, deputies from the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office performed a field sobriety test on Madison, who eventually submitted to a blood alcohol test that revealed a BAC well above the legal limit, according to sources.
So, while the teenagers filed into the hotel to safely celebrate their prom, Madison was arrested for reckless conduct and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Madison, however, maintains that he is innocent. He told sources shortly after the incident that the limo had several mechanical problems that led to the erratic driving.
The driver also told sources that, if he was guilty, he would still be in jail, and not “at home right now.” Of course, Madison was only at home because he had posted bail, which judges often allow for criminal defendants who do not appear to be a serious flight risk.
Nevertheless, Madison will have his day in court, and may be able to mount a successful criminal defense, depending on the circumstances of his arrest.
Still, the limo driver already appears to have been convicted in the court of public opinion, as several parents told local news sources that they couldn’t believe the limo company had allowed Madison to drive the teenagers to the prom.
According to Lori Dano, the mother of Kelly Dano, she and other parents pay for limo services so that their children are safe and the parents “don’t have to worry about them driving an hour away by themselves.”
By providing an allegedly drunk driver, the limo company defeated the purpose of this common plan, and may have opened itself up to a potential lawsuit, if the parents of the teenagers are so inclined.