30 months' probation for Marine who caused DUI crash near Elmhurst
Not only was Marine Sgt. Chester Gordon asleep and traveling in the wrong direction on I-290 when his vehicle collided head on with another car, injuring two women, but his blood alcohol level was .151 more than two hours after the crash.
Nevertheless, outside of those few hours on Dec. 30, 2018, several fellow Marines and Gordon's sister testified Wednesday that Gordon was a father figure to his nieces and an "exemplary Marine."
DuPage County Judge Jeffrey MacKay said it's difficult to reach a just punishment while also weighing the rehabilitative ability of a defendant with no criminal history.
"If (Gordon) can follow the strict rules of the United States Marine Corps, I have no doubt he can follow the rules of probation," MacKay said as he sentenced Gordon, 24, to 180 days in DuPage County jail and 30 months of probation.
Gordon, of the 1000 block of East Avenue in Berwyn, pleaded guilty May 17 to two counts of aggravated DUI causing bodily injury.
Illinois State Police Special Agent Sean Reeves testified during Wednesday's sentencing hearing that Gordon was driving a 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee about 19 mph in the wrong direction on I-290 near York Road in Elmhurst around 4:15 a.m. when he crashed into a 2008 Toyota RAV 4 traveling east.
The people in the other vehicle -- driver Maria Robles, 61, and passenger Hortensia Cerritos, 53, both of Berwyn -- required multiple surgeries for their injuries, according to their victim impact statements, which prosecutors read into the record.
Reeves said Gordon did not remember details of the crash but did say he had been at a Schiller Park sports bar for several hours before the crash. Reeves confirmed that review of video from the bar and a receipt showed Gordon was at the bar from 10:04 p.m. until 2:47 a.m. and had five mixed drinks.
At 3:58 a.m., Gordon arrived at a Stone Park bar and was allowed in but left at 4:03 a.m. because it was closing. Twelve minutes later, the Jeep's electronic data recorder showed he had his foot on the brake and was traveling at a steady 19 mph when he collided with Robles' SUV.
Gordon has served 179 days since his arrest and will be released from jail Thursday to begin serving his probation and be fitted for an alcohol-detection device.
His attorney, Victor Giardelli, said Gordon also expects to begin the process of being "less than honorably discharged" from his "dream job" in the Marines, where he was stationed at the Marine Corps facility on the 3000 block of West Foster Avenue in Chicago.
Gordon also faces a lawsuit filed by Cerritos, naming him, his mother and Chasers Sports Bar and Grill claiming negligence, and willful and wanton conduct. The civil case, filed June 10, is next scheduled to be heard on Sept. 9.