Police: Man who struck bus in Des Plaines had 16 prior DUIs

Updated 6/8/2017 6:50 PM

A 51-year-old man with a total of 16 DUI convictions was ordered held on $400,000 bail Thursday after authorities say he struck a party bus in Des Plaines and fled the scene.

Christopher Clingingsmith was charged with aggravated DUI and hit-and-run. No one was injured in the crash, which happened at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.


Des Plaines police described the vehicle, a 2004 Chevy Silverado, heading west on Rand Road toward Kensington Road. After observing the vehicle traveling west on Northwest Highway, Arlington Heights police pulled the car over in the 100 block of South Arlington Heights Road, said Cook County assistant state's attorney Jennifer Gates.

Clingingsmith, who told police he had seven beers, had bloodshot, glassy eyes, a strong odor of alcohol about him and was unable to perform field sobriety tests, Gates said.

Authorities recovered from Clingingsmith a fake driver's license, Gates said.

Because of his background, Clingingsmith was charged with a class X felony. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.

"Sixteen prior DUIs is almost unbelievable," said Cook County Judge Joseph Cataldo.

According to prosecutors, Clingingsmith has 13 felony convictions dating back to 1988 -- nine of them for DUIs, for which he received sentences from two to seven years in prison. His most recent DUI conviction came in 2007 when he was sentenced to four years in prison on three drunken driving cases, Gates said.

Between 1982 and 1992, Clingingsmith received six misdemeanor DUI convictions and one violation, Gates said.

Clingingsmith next appears in court on June 29.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.