Aviston man pleads guilty mid-trial in fatal DUI case

News-DemocratJuly 19, 2013 

— A man charged with drunken driving resulting in a crash that killed a Trenton woman pleaded guilty in mid-trial Friday in Madison County Circuit Court.

The trial of James L. Griesbaum began this week on multiple charges relating to driving under the influence of alcohol in a fatal accident.

Griesbaum, 36, of Aviston, already had two DUI charges within seven years when his Ford F-150 truck crashed head-on into a Dodge Dakota truck driven by Barbara K. Green on Feb. 16, 2010, on Illinois 160 near Highland Road.

Green was taken to St. Louis University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Her mother, Ressie Woodcock, was a passenger in the truck and suffered critical injuries.

Jury selection took place on Tuesday and the trial began Wednesday. It was expected that the defense would finish on Friday before sending the case to the jury.

However, Griesbaum pleaded guilty Friday morning to two of the four DUI charges: aggravated DUI resulting in death and resulting in great bodily harm.

Stephanee Smith, spokeswoman for the Madison County State's Attorney's Office, said Griesbaum will be sentenced to 42 months in prison on each count, with the sentences running concurrently.

Griesbaum, who has been out on bond, was ordered to report July 26 to the Madison County Jail.

Seven years before the crash, Griesbaum was arrested after allegedly running a flashing red light at Illinois 160 and Old Route 50 and trying to elude police before stopping. The DUI charge later was dismissed.

Two years before the crash, Griesbaum refused to submit to a blood alcohol test during a stop in Will County, but received a judicial driving permit that allowed him to continue driving.

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 618-239-2507.

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