Mokena man pleads guilty to 2011 DUI crash that killed mother, grandmother; injuired adult son with special needs

July 8

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a Mokena man today pleaded guilty to aggravated driving while under the influence of alcohol in connection with a 2011 collision that caused the deaths of two elderly women near Peotone.

Joseph E. Slattery, 27, of 20016 Lakeview Way in Mokena, faces between six and 28 years in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak on July 26.

Slattery was driving in his Chevrolet Cavalier while intoxicated around 8 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2011 on LaGrange Road just north of Wilmington-Peotone Road when he veered over the center line and struck another vehicle with three occupants.

The driver of the other vehicle, Margaret Simons, 72, was pronounced dead at the scene. Another passenger, Suzanne Thompson, 92, who was Margaret Simons’ mother, suffered severe bilateral pelvic fractures and was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, where she was pronounced dead three hours after the crash.

The third passenger, Ralph Simons, who was 42 at the time, suffered a fractured left hip and left hand and was hospitalized for 13 days. Ralph Simons is an adult with special needs who lives in a residential care facility.

At the time of the crash, Slattery was driving with his girlfriend and their 18-month-old son. The child was treated at St. Mary’s for a facial abrasion and contusion; the mother appeared unharmed. An empty carton of Bud Light was found in the vehicle, although there were no actual containers in the car.

The defendant’s blood-alcohol level was .092 shortly after the accident and a blood test for opiates was positive. Slattery admitted to taking a friend’s Vicodin two nights before.