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People v. Ammons

DECEMBER 18, 1968.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

WILL AMMONS, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT C. BUCKLEY, Judge, presiding. Reversed.

MR. JUSTICE ENGLISH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT. CHARGES

(1) Driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Ill Rev Stats (1965), c 95 1/2, § 144.

(2) Failure to have driver's license in possession when operating a motor vehicle. Ill Rev Stats (1965), c 95 1/2, § 6-118.

DEFENSE AT TRIAL

Defendant was not driving the car at the time in question.

JUDGMENT

After a bench trial, defendant was found guilty of both offenses, and was sentenced to 60 days in jail on the first charge, and fined $25 and costs on the second charge.

CONTENTIONS ON APPEAL

(1) Defendant was not driving.

(2) Defendant was not under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

EVIDENCE

The State's case was presented through the testimony of only one witness, the arresting police officer, Joseph Dier.

On March 26, 1967, at 3:15 p.m., Dier was driving his patrol car north on California Avenue at Adams Street when he saw a car "a block and a half" ahead veer to the extreme left lane of the street for about 55 feet while passing a car which was parking. He engaged his blue light and gave chase. He could see that there were two male negroes in the front seat of the car, but beyond that he could not identify either of the men, or the clothing they were wearing, because he was too far away. The car passed the first intersection on the green light, and then made a left turn into the alley beyond. The witness followed, and when he arrived at the alley he saw the car parked there with apparently no one in it, and the motor running. Upon opening the door of the car, he saw defendant "prostrate on the floor" of the front seat, with his body on the passenger side and his head toward the driver's side. Nobody else was there.

Upon request, defendant got out of the car, and the witness detected the odor of alcohol. Defendant appeared very sleepy, and did not answer questions as to whether or not he had been driving. He was then taken to the police station where, according to the officer, he failed to pass various inebriation tests. The car was registered in the name of defendant's wife. The police officer had not known ...


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