Toxicology: Driver had been drinking

URBANA — Toxicology tests run on a Tolono man who died in a single-vehicle crash west of Tolono last month reveal he had been drinking.

Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said Jamie Ping, 21, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.132 percent when he died on Dec. 15. Under Illinois law, a motorist with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent is presumed intoxicated.

Mr. Ping's car was found upside down, partially submerged in water in a drainage ditch alongside County Road 900 E near 750 N west of Tolono about 6:30 a.m. that day. An autopsy revealed he drowned.

Northrup and Champaign County sheriff's Lt. Ed Ogle said deputies learned that Mr. Ping had been at a bowling alley and a bar the night before the crash that claimed his life.

The volunteer Tolono firefighter was alone in the car at the time it left the road. Northrup said it's not known how long he may have been there. He was wearing a seat belt.

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the-uniform wrote on January 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Dear News-Gazette,

Please tell me the purpose of releasing this information? It has been almost a full month since the accident, and I'm sure the families emotional wounds are still in the initial stages of healing and you have probably just ripped them wide open again. There are countless other stories that could and should be reported but apparently you feel that beating this dead horse of  story is more important than real news. Great job N-G for another senseless article. I would have liked to directed my comments at the author of this article, but I see they do not want to be known.

JRR wrote on January 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Are you suggesting suppressing a legitimate news story because the truth is unpleasant?

By state law, the coroner is required to investigate violent deaths, including fatal motor vehicle accidents. The coroner is required to take a fluid sample from the driver if alcohol is suspected as a cause, and to report the causes of certain types of deaths. Though I am not a lawyer, I believe the causes leading to most motor vehicle accidents are a matter of public record because they occur on public roadways.

In saying this, I do not intend any disrespect toward the deceased gentleman or the many family and friends who loved him. From what I have read of this man's life, he was an exemplary human being who left a positive mark on the world, and whose life was cut tragically short.

I see nothing in the record to suggest that this man was a habitual problem drunk driver like so many we read about in the newspapers, and I have to assume that this accident was the result of a tragic lapse of judgment that this man paid for with his life. All it takes is once, and life doesn't have a "rewind" button to let us undo what is done.

Given the positive words written about the dead gentleman by his friends and colleagues at the time of his death, I don't think that sweeping the facts of this tragedy under the rug would benefit anyone in the long run, but it does underscore the senselessness of his death at so early an age. The fact that alcohol was a factor in this man's death should remind us that bad things often happen to good people, and that good people often pay mightily for their mistakes.

May this tragic death serve to save others from the same mistake, and may this man's loved ones find peace regardless of the facts surrounding his death.

tigermom wrote on January 13, 2012 at 12:01 am

How is this legitimate news?  Why on earth does it matter to anyone else but the family what his blood alcohol level was?  Yes, it may be public record, but if anyone really wanted the information, they could have looked it up instead of having it printed in the paper.  If that's what people consider news, maybe everyone needs figure out there are a lot more pressing issues in this world.

Fromthearea wrote on January 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm

If it's in the police blotter, it's public knowledge.  I'm sorry for your loss.  At least I hope it's a very hard and unfortunate learning experience for younger members of the family as to why a person shouldn't drink and drive.  Stop blaming the paper.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on January 13, 2012 at 5:01 am
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the-uniform, The N-G's job is to report the news, not to only report the news if it is pleasant and won't disturb anybody.  It isn't the N-G's fault that Mr. Ping made a very poor decision and possibly lost his life because of it.

gftst wrote on January 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Its a follow up to the original article. Its routine after serious injury or fatal accidents that the cause of death and or toxicology results are released. It indicates what might have caused the accident. If you have a complaint you would be better to direct it at the coroner or sheriffs office as they are the ones who release that information in a news release and its picked up by whoever.

Jsmith68 wrote on January 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I totally disagree.  What if this young man had killed someone else?  This shows what so many people are prone to forget.  DUI is still a prevelant problem in this country and should be treated as a dangerous crime.  I have deep sympathy for his family, but I am also glad I am not  having to feel sympathy for two families.  Hopefuly someone will read this article and say to themselves "enough to drink is enough".  dl