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‘Designated driver’ ticketed for going 135 mph

(ONARGA, Ill.) A west suburban man told police who stopped him on I-57 on Sunday afternoon that he was a designated driver and wanted to get his intoxicated passenger home safely — that’s why he was driving 135 mph.

The incident occurred on I-57 near Onarga, about 30 miles south of Kankakee. At about 12:41 p.m., an Illinois State Trooper running stationary radar on I-57 at milepost 279 near Onarga observed a vehicle traveling northbound at 135 mph in a 65 mph zone, a statement from ISP said.

The vehicle slowed down after the driver saw the trooper, but the radar had already caught him going more than double the speed limit. The trooper stopped the vehicle, driven by 34-year-old Ralph Cornell of River Grove.

Cornell told the trooper he was the designated driver and wanted to get his intoxicated passenger home safely, police said. He was issued a citation for speeding 40 mph over the speed limit, a Class A misdemeanor.

State police did not immediately have information on the make and model of vehicle Cornell was driving.

But ISP took advantage of the arrest to remind drivers that speeding is one of the “Fatal Four” violations. Speeding:

— reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves and other objects;

— extends the distance required to stop;

— increase crash severity;

— lowers the effectiveness of restraint devices like air bags, seatbelts, crumple zones and side beams; and

— increases the probability of death, disfigurement or debilitating injury, which double for every 10 mph traveling over 50 mph.

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