A limousine driver pleaded guilty Thursday to driving drunk while busing 23 high school students to their prom near Glen Ellyn.
The blood alcohol content was twice the legal threshold for Richard L. Madison, 55, of Palos Heights. He was arrested May 11, 2013 after delivering a group of Oswego East High School teens to Abbington Banquets in a party bus.
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Madison, an admitted alcoholic, was sentenced to 60 days in jail, two years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $500 fine.
Madison must serve half the jail time and received credit for already serving 13 days. While on probation, Madison is required to wear an alcohol monitoring bracelet and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week.
Assistant State's Attorney Will Thayer, while seeking a 364-day jail sentence, said students hired a private limousine service to drive them to the Abbington for their prom. While en route, some of the students became alarmed by the driver's erratic driving and called their parents to notify them of the situation.
Parents called police and two off-duty Oswego police officers providing security at the prom were waiting for Madison. They then called the DuPage County sheriff's office to investigate, leading to Madison's arrest.
"Mr. Madison's conduct on this evening was outrageous," Thayer said. "He gambled with the lives of these students and blatantly deceived their parents, who thought their children were being safely transported to their prom celebration."
Thayer said Madison had the trademark bloodshot eyes and slurred speech in addition to having a blood alcohol content of twice the legal threshold of .08.
Judge Paul Marchese said he believes the students likely "prevented a tragedy" by alerting authorities to Madison's behavior.
Madison was initially scheduled to plead guilty on Feb. 18 but he failed to show up to court and a warrant was issued for his arrest and forfeiture of his bond. He eventually turned himself in to authorities on March 24 and has been held in DuPage County Jail since that time.