Law and Order, Local, Local Police Reports, Park Forest

Driver Charged with Aggravated Driving Under the Influence-Death in Fatal Single Car Crash

Sunrise outside the Park Forest Police Station, Aggravated Driving Under the Influence-Death charge
Sunrise outside the Park Forest Police Station. (Photo: Chief Christopher Mannino)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A Midlothian man was charged with aggravated driving under the influence-death in the crash on Wildwood Drive Sunday that left one man dead.

Police investigated the fatal single-car crash on Feb 27, 2022, that occurred at approximately 1 AM on the 400 block of Wildwood Drive, according to a previous report. The crash resulted in the death of Vincent Adami, 22, of Park Forest, according to police. The name of the alleged driver, James A. Watkins Jr., 23-years-old, of Midlothian, was not in the first statement from the Park Forest Police Department Sunday as the incident was still under investigation.

Monday police released a statement saying that Mr. Watkins was charged with one felony count of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol – death. That charge reflects the accusation that a driver committed the offense of DUI and that a crash resulted in the death of another, according to police. The charge carries a prison sentence of “not less than 3 years and not more than 14 years” if Mr. Watkins is convicted, according to Illinois statutes.

Mr. Watkins appeared at the Cook County Courthouse on Feb 28, 2022, where he was issued a bond of $50,000 D, which means that $5,000 is needed for release on bond, according to police.

The investigation into the crash by the Suburban Major Accident Reconstruction Team continues, police said, and it remains possible that additional criminal charges will be filed at a later date, police said.

Under the rights afforded by our legal system, defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, police said in the Monday statement.

“This is a tragic incident that has impacted many in Park Forest, Chicago’s south suburbs, and beyond,” police said. “We extend our thoughts to all of those affected, but especially to the families and friends of the victims, and we continue to hope for the recovery of the second passenger who still remains in critical condition.”