Man must pay cabbie $7,000 as part of DUI plea
URBANA — An Elmhurst man will have to repay a local cabbie $7,000 for the van he wrecked last summer while driving drunk.
Thomas Hart, 22, pleaded guilty Thursday before Champaign County Judge Rich Klaus to misdemeanor driving under the influence. He admitted he had been drinking on Sept. 14 before he wrecked John Scott's van east of Urbana.
Hart was sentenced to two years of probation and 60 days in jail to be served on electronic home detention. He was also ordered to perform 200 hours of public service, pay a $2,000 fine, make restitution to Scott of $7,000, and attend a victim impact panel.
Scott told The News-Gazette that he picked Hart and two other men up on the University of Illinois campus about 1:45 a.m. that day. The customers directed him to drive east of town where one of the men, later identified by police as Hart, hit him in the head. Scott bailed out of the van, which minutes later was involved in a collision with another car on East Washington Street extended at County Road 1800 E.
In exchange for Hart's plea, other charges of aggravated battery and possession of a stolen vehicle were dismissed. He will serve his home detention at his apartment in Champaign then seek to transfer his probation to DuPage County, according to his attorney, Steve Beckett of Urbana.
Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dornik said Hart had no prior convictions.