Driver who ditched car in near-zero cold guilty of DUI

Gurbeer Singh-Sanghera, 28, of Naperville's far southwest side, has been sentenced to 180 days in jail, after being convicted of a felony charge of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol. Police said he drove his car into a streetlight pole last winter and then tried to walk home in dangerously cold weather. | Will County Sheriff's Office

A man from Naperville who crashed his car last winter while drunk and then began walking two miles to his home during life-threatening weather has been sentenced to six months in jail, after being convicted of chronic drunken driving.

Gurbeer Singh-Sanghera, 28, pleaded guilty in Will County Circuit Court in Joliet in the late-night, Jan. 29 crash near Rodeo Drive and Essington Road in Bolingbrook. Police at 11:25 p.m. found him walking toward his home on the 2500 block of Indian Grass Court, in the High Meadow area of Naperville’s far southwest side, some two miles northwest of the crash scene.

Temperatures that night were in the mid-teens, and were accompanied by 15-to-20-mph winds and gusts of up to 35 mph, said Bill Nelson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville. The wind-chill factor made the temperature feel like 5 degrees, Nelson said.

Judge Daniel J. Rozak convicted Singh-Sanghera of a felony charge of aggravated DUI for the third or subsequent time, according to court records.

Rozak on May 29 sentenced Singh-Sanghera to 180 days in jail. Records indicated the judge also ordered him to perform 480 hours of community service work and spend two years on probation.

Bolingbrook police Lt. Mike Rompa said police went to Rodeo Drive and Essington Road to investigate a report that a gray, 2007 Honda Civic had left the roadway and crashed into a streetlight pole.

A motorist who witnessed the crash called 911 to report seeing the driver “exit the vehicle and leave the area on foot,” Rompa wrote in an email. The witness said the driver, later identified as Singh-Sanghera, “appeared to be disoriented as he walked west on Rodeo (Drive),” Rompa said.

“Due to the extremely cold temperature, additional officers attempted to locate the driver, for his well-being,” Rompa said. They found Singh-Sanghera walking near Hassert Boulevard and Plainfield-Naperville Road due north of the crash scene, and he “appeared intoxicated” to them.

Rompa said Singh-Sanghera denied he had been driving the car. Police later interviewed members of his family, who “indicated he was driving the vehicle” and had its keys in his pockets, he said.

Singh-Sanghera refused to participate in field sobriety testing, and was arrested and charged with DUI, Rompa said. Police also ticketed him for leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident/driving too fast for conditions.

The dates and locations of Singh-Sanghera’s prior drunken-driving arrests could not be immediately learned.

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