A 28-year-old man may only serve more than a month in jail and four years probation for driving under the influence in a 2016 car crash that killed another man who was in his car.
On Thursday, Timothy M. Griffin, of Plainfield, pleaded guilty to driving a Dodge Neon on Jan. 31, 2016, while drunk when he was involved in a crash that resulted in the death of 24-year-old John J. Burns, a passenger in Griffin’s car.
Police said Griffin was driving on County Line Road near Black Road when his car drifted into the gravel on the east side of the road, crossed over to the west side of the road, jumped a curb, hit a tree, hit a telephone line box, hit a second tree and flipped over several times.
Griffin was seen by witnesses checking on Burns after the crash before he climbed out of the car and fled on foot, police said. Other neighbors chased Griffin until police took him into custody.
After Griffin was arrested, a special prosecutor was assigned to the case because he is the nephew of a senior Will County assistant state’s attorney, court records show. State’s attorney Carole Cheney would not identify which prosecutor is related to Griffin.
Burns’ father, Gary Majewski, was in tears as he read a statement before Judge Dan Kennedy while standing just a few feet away from Griffin. Majewski said it was a shame his son will never meet his daughter Kinsley, who was born about five months after he died.
“I still miss my son all the time,” Majewski said.
He said Griffin showed no signs of remorse since Burns’ death.
“He fled like a coward,” Majewski said.
He said he will never get over his son's death.
"When I take my last breath, that's when my grieving will stop," Majewski said.
Before Griffin was sentenced, he turned to face Burns’ family and say he was sorry. Majewski left the courtroom.
“I wish I could take it back,” Griffin said. “I wish it was me and not Johnny.”
Kennedy sentenced Griffin to four years probation and six months in jail, and ordered him to pay for all of Burns’ funeral costs.
Special Prosecutor Charles Colburn said Griffin is eligible for release after 45 days if he fulfills other aspects of his sentence.
Majewski said Griffin’s sentence was a sign “the legal system is messed up.”
“That ain’t fair,” he said.
Majewski said there should be tougher sentences in DUI cases that result in a death. He said he walked out of the courtroom because Griffin had four years to speak to him but didn’t.
He also said his son would not have fled the scene of the crash as Griffin did.