Man admits role in Illinois highway worker's death

HIGHLAND, Ill. - An Illinois driver admits he was under the influence of Ambien, a sleep aid, when he killed one highway worker and injured three others. That driver now faces five to 10 years behind bars, but the widow of the victim says that's just not enough.

The crash happened in 2012, and Monday the driver pleaded guilty in court to aggravated DUI.

Dennis Beard was 38-years-old when he was killed on the job, three of his employees were also injured including his nephew. Beard's widow and nephew say they are ready for all of this to be over.

It will be two years next month when Josie Beard got the call her husband Dennis, a highway worker, was struck by a driver.

"I want to try to remember everything that happened, you know, before," said Josie.

It happened on Interstate 64 near Fairview Heights, when police say Michael Jeter veered off the road and rammed into Beard and three other highway workers. One of the injured was Kory Links, Beard's nephew.

"I want to forget the wreck, I want to forget all the pain, and all the sorrow and the suffering," said Links.

Police say Jeter was on a sleep aid, Ambien, and an antihistamine when he crashed into them. He is charged with four counts of aggravated driving under the influence. Links is not happy about the possible jail time, but is pleased with Jeter's plea.

"At least now he's admitting guilt," he said.

Beard says she too wanted more than the possible sentence.

"The five to 10 years, I don't think is very long, for this kind of crime, but they are limited to the law, so it's the law that's, that's not fair," she said and admitted some days are harder than others.

"When you kill one person it affects a lot of lives, a lot," she said.

The family says let this story be a reminder to all drivers about highway safety.

Jeter will be sentenced in June.


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