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updated: 1/13/2012 5:29 PM

Driver in Wheaton house crash charged with DUI

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  • Allison Smolinski

      Allison Smolinski

  • The driver of a car that smashed into a Wheaton house earlier this week has been charged with felony DUI.

      The driver of a car that smashed into a Wheaton house earlier this week has been charged with felony DUI.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 

A motorist accused in a series of crashes that ended with her vehicle in a Wheaton family's living room was jailed Friday on felony DUI charges.

Bail was set at $500,000 for Allison R. Smolinski, 22, who appeared in DuPage County bond court wearing a neck brace. She is charged with aggravated driving under the influence, criminal damage to property, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to reduce speed, prosecutors said.

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Authorities say Smolinski was behind the wheel of a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder that was involved in three separate accidents in less than an hour Tuesday. The sport utility vehicle came to rest after it went off Farnham Road, struck a tree and tore into a house near Huntleigh Drive in Wheaton about 4:45 p.m.

A family watching TV in another room of the home was not injured. But Smolinski's 27-year-old passenger -- a Woodridge man -- received a 3- to 4-inch gash that exposed his skull and caused permanent disfigurement, Assistant State's Attorney Louisa Nuckolls said in court. She said Smolinski was released from the hospital Thursday.

The series of crashes began just after 4 p.m. Tuesday when, authorities say, Smolinski changed lanes and struck another car on westbound I-290. The collision left her vehicle's back bumper dangling as she exited onto Thorndale Avenue, police said.

The vehicle then returned to I-290, but went east. Police said Smolinski may have caused a rollover accident before continuing onto southbound I-355, where several drivers reported a motorist "swerving all over the road."

After exiting at Roosevelt Road, the vehicle was involved in a crash near Blanchard Street in Wheaton that left one person injured. It next made a "high-speed" turn at Naperville Road and traveled down Farnham Road before striking the tree and house, authorities said.

"It sounded like a bomb went off," Angela Lorenzo, who lives at the residence with her parents, told the Daily Herald earlier this week. "We rushed toward the living room and saw the whole north corner of the living room had a hole in it. It's a little scary."

Police said Smolinski was thrown from the vehicle, and her passenger had to be extricated by firefighters and paramedics. Both were heavily intoxicated and fought with emergency responders who tried to treat them, according to a police report.

Smolinski's last known address is on the 1500 block of 61st Street in Downers Grove, according to court records. She has prior convictions for underage drinking and burglary, authorities said. Illinois State Police said she and her passenger also had "track marks" on their arms and may be heroin users.

Wheaton police said the injured passenger is not being identified because he has not been charged criminally.

Judge Elizabeth Sexton set bail at $500,000 for Smolinski, who would have to post $50,000 to bond out.

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