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Man gets 3 years for Christmas Eve DUI crash that killed daughter

Author George R.R. Martin.
Jeffery Smith. Photo from Illinois Department of Corrections.
Ashlee Rezin / Sun-Times

A man pleaded guilty to DUI and was sentenced to three years in prison Monday for a Christmas Eve crash that killed his 8-year-old daughter last year.

Jeffery Smith, 27, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated DUI involving a fatal accident, court records show. Judge Nicholas Ford sentenced him to three years in prison.

On Dec. 24, 2013, rescue crews found Smith pinned in a Chevrolet Impala after it smashed into a tree in the 1000 block of West Garfield Boulevard, authorities said. The roof of the car was crushed below the seat level.

Lauren Smith, 8, died in a crash Christmas Eve 2013 on the South Side. Family photo.
Lauren Smith, 8, died in a crash Christmas Eve 2013 on the South Side. Family photo.

It took more than 40 minutes to extricate Smith from the vehicle, authorities said, and it wasn’t until they were inside that they noticed Lauren Smith, 8, was also pinned inside the car.

Lorie Hall, Lauren’s grandmother, told the Chicago Sun-Times that Smith and Lauren were on their way to her house to celebrate Christmas before the crash.

“They never showed up,” Hall said. “I had fallen asleep, but I was still dressed and waiting for him to bring her here. We were going to make gingerbread houses.”

The girl, who lived with her father in the 5600 block of South Wolcott, was taken to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead early Christmas morning, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Police said Smith was speeding when he hit the tree, and his blood-alcohol level was .137 at the time of the deadly wreck, Cook County prosecutors said.

Smith will receive credit for nearly a year spent behind bars since his arrest, court records show. He will be required to serve two years of mandatory supervised release after being released from prison.

—STNG Wire