The crash sent 4-year-old Franklin Jackson Jr. flying through the rear window of the car his dad was driving on the Dan Ryan Expressway.
But his father, also named Franklin Jackson, was drunk and didn’t notice the boy had been thrown out of the car when he hit a guard rail in the northbound lanes of the expressway, prosecutors said in court on Christmas Day.
The little boy lay “on a grassy embankment” near the 87th Street exit, according to a police report.
“Wasn’t there a hole in the back window?” Cook County Judge James Brown asked Wednesday.
But Jackson, who is from Texas, didn’t notice the shattered window until he pulled into a gas station to check the damage to his car, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Maura White said in court.
Jackson was ordered held held on a $250,000 bond, charged with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence in the crash Sunday afternoon that claimed the life of 4-year-old Franklin Leon Jackson Jr. The little boy died of head trauma. He hadn’t been belted in, authorities said.
The elder Jackson returned to the scene and found police there.
His wife and their three other children—ages 2, 1 and 3 months—were in the car, authorities said.
Also inside the car, police found an empty vodka bottle, empty beer can and unopened beer, White said.
Jackson admitted he’d been drinking, according to the prosecutor, who said his blood-alcohol level six hours after the crash was .04 percent. That’s below the .08 percent level that’s considered drunk under Illinois law, but White said forensic investigators estimated that Jackson’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash had been between .11 and .15 percent.
Jackson, 46, suffered broken ribs, his lawyer said in court. In court, he groaned in pain and was allowed to sit while his case was heard.
His attorney told the judge, “This is a terrible tragedy. He’d like to be able to bury his son.”