Posted Jul 23, 2007 03:46 am CDT
A suburban Chicago couple has been convicted for allowing an underage drinking party in their home that had deadly consequences.
Jeffrey and Sara Hutsell were convicted yesterday of child endangerment and obstruction of justice, the Chicago Tribune reports. Prosecutors had contended the Hutsells were aware their son was hosting the drinking party last Oct. 13, the evening of the homecoming football game in Deerfield, Ill.
The Hutsells could get a sentence of up to a year in jail.
Two teens died when their car crashed into a tree after they left the party. The blood-alcohol level of the 18-year-old driver was above the legal limit.
Defense lawyers had contended the couple was unaware the teens were drinking in their basement. They said Jeffrey Hutsell went down to the basement several times and never saw any alcohol. Robert Gevirtz, Jeffey Hutsell’s lawyer, said the event was so low-key, it should be described as a “quiet gathering” rather than a party. (See this ABAJournal.com post for details.)
Lake County, Ill., State’s Attorney Michael Waller said the verdict provides a lesson about the potential consequences of bad decisions. “Parents need to be responsible and you cannot host underage drinking parties in your home,” he said.