Published January 13, 2015
A judge sentenced a man to 14 days in jail and his wife to community service for letting a group of teenagers drink alcohol the night of a crash that killed two of them.
Jeffrey and Sara Hutsell, both 53 of suburban Chicago, were convicted of violating the state liquor control act, endangering the life of a child and of obstructing justice by lying to police.
Prosecutors say the couple allowed their teenage son to have a party in their basement on Oct. 13 with beer and rum. Two 18-year-olds who attended the party, Daniel Bell and Ross Trace, later died in a car crash. An autopsy showed that Bell, who was driving, had a high blood-alcohol level.
Jeffrey Hutsell testified that he saw no indication that night that the teens were drinking and that he would never condone it if he knew. Prosecutors argued that it should have been obvious to adults in the house.
In addition to jail time, the judge sentenced the Hutsells on Wednesday to 18 months of probation each and ordered them to contribute $4,000 to anti-drinking programs and perform community service
A message left for the Hutsells' attorney was not immediately returned.
Inspired in part by the Hutsell case, a law signed last month increased penalties for adults who knowingly allow underage drinking in their homes. Under the new law, adults could get one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $125,000 if they let teens drink and it leads to serious injury or death.