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Driver Accused Of Striking IDOT Worker Could Face Tougher Penalties If Convicted Under New Law

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An Illinois Department of Transportation worker was helping out a driver on the Eisenhower Expressway recently, when Illinois State Police said a drunken driver sent him to the hospital.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey has been digging into the driver's record.

While Hickey did not find any history of drunken driving by Alexander Scott, he does have a history of distracted driving and speeding. And enhancements to the Move Over law mean that if found guilty, he'll pay the price.

Scott, 51, was taken into custody early Sunday on the Eisenhower near the California Avenue exit, according to Illinois State Police.

Investigators said his white Nissan Altima slammed into the back of an IDOT truck, causing the truck to roll forward into the IDOT minuteman who was helping another driver on the side of the road.

The worker was sent to the hospital. Fortunately, his injuries described as minor.

It was just a year ago that a construction worker on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) was killed by a driver. Witnesses said a driver going 80 to 90 miles an hour hit the barricades, hit Frank Caputo and his work van just south of Touhy Avenue.

"They just fly by. They fly by and they lose control of their cars," said the victim's brother, Dominic Caputo. "These guys are sitting ducks."

Caputo's family called for more severe penalties for drivers who ignore the flashing lights. And in July, lawmakers tightened the Move Over Law, also known as Scott's Law, not only increased fines but also made it a felony punishable by up to three years in prison if the victim is hurt or killed.

If driver Scott is found guilty, those changes would apply in this most recent case on the Eisenhower.

The ISP said Scott was charged with:

• DUI;
• Failure to slow down to avoid accident;
• Violating Scott's Law.

The Illinois Secretary of State's office said Scott had a valid license at the time of the accident. But he does have a history of excessive speeding between 15 and 25 miles above the speed limit, and a 2015 ticket for distracted driving involving a cellphone.

At last check the IDOT worker was stable but still under observation at a local hospital due to his injuries. ISP said Monday that the investigation is "open and ongoing."

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