Appeal from the Circuit Court of Marion County; the Hon. E.
HAROLD WINELAND, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded.
This action was brought in the Circuit Court of Marion County, Illinois, by Frances Spenner, as Administrator of the Estate of Robert G. Spenner, deceased, and Frances Spenner individually for herself and minor children for the alleged loss of means of support pursuant to the Dram Shop Act. The corporate defendant, Jenkins Party Liquors, Inc., is the owner and operator of a tavern. The plaintiff has appealed from a judgment upon a jury verdict for the defendant. The plaintiff in its appeal raises three principal issues, i.e., (1) that the Court erred in its admission of certain evidence offered by the defendant and erroneously refused to admit certain evidence offered by the plaintiff; (2) that the defendant's counsel was guilty of impropriety that constituted prejudicial error; and (3) that the verdict of the jury was against the manifest weight of the evidence.
In our opinion the appeal may be disposed of by confining our opinion to the first issue. The objectionable testimony concerns the purported impeachment of a witness called to testify in behalf of the plaintiff.
One of the witnesses testifying in behalf of the plaintiff, Officer Jerry Edmundson, of the Centralia Police Department, testified that he investigated the accident which caused the death of the plaintiff's decedent, along with Sergeant Simon Franklin. On direct examination he stated that upon arrival he went to the truck of the decedent who at the time was still alive; that there was a strong odor of liquor in the truck. The officer went to the hospital where decedent had been transported and that at the hospital the decedent still had the presence of the small of alcohol.
The defendant's counsel then cross-examined the witness, a portion of which is as follows:
"Q. Did you testify before the coroner's jury?
"Q. Did you tell the coroner's jury anything about an odor of alcohol?
"A. I believe I did, as I recall.
"Q. Would you read this? Just read this and see if you see anything in it about the odor of alcohol. Did you make any report in which you indicated that there had been drinking?
"A. I, myself, never. It should have been on the accident report.
"Q. In here you didn't indicate at the coroner's inquest, you didn't indicate about ...