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People v. Lumpp

OPINION FILED OCTOBER 27, 1977.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

THOMAS J. LUMPP, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JACK G. STEIN, Judge, presiding. MR. JUSTICE LINN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Thomas J. Lumpp, defendant, was charged with the operation of an overweight vehicle. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 95 1/2, par. 15-111.) The State appeals from an order of the circuit court of Cook County which sustained defendant's pretrial motion to suppress evidence. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110A, par. 604(a)(1).

We reverse and remand.

We are aware that defendant has filed no appearance or brief as appellee. The record is short and the issue presented is simple. We will therefore determine the merits of the case. See First Capitol Mortgage Corp. v. Talandis Construction Corp. (1976), 63 Ill.2d 128, 345 N.E.2d 493.

An Illinois State trooper testified at the hearing on the motion to suppress. At about noon on April 26, 1976, he observed a five-axle, flatbed, semi-tractor trailer truck being operated in a westerly direction along 103rd Street approaching the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago. The officer testified that his attention was drawn to the vehicle because the trailer listed slightly to the side. Also, the rear of the trailer was riding lower than the front, and its wheels were riding on the rims. The witness related that he stopped the vehicle at 100th Street and the expressway. A check of its tires disclosed the air pressure to be normal. The officer further related that he thought the vehicle to be overweight; that defendant, who was driving the vehicle, was not arrested when it was first stopped; and that he had no warrant for defendant's arrest.

The trial court commented it was perplexed about the officer's testimony that the trailer wheels were riding on the rims but that the tire pressure was normal. The report of proceedings discloses the following colloquy between the court, the prosecutor and the witness:

"COURT: I am a little puzzled from the testimony of the officer, who I know is a good officer. He says the tires were all the way down. His closing remark [sic] was that the tire pressure was normal.

MR. CLARK: Yes, there is only one conclusion you can draw from it, the rear of the vehicle was very overloaded.

COURT: Well, the pressure is normal, in spite of the tires haven't [sic] really been depressed.

MR. CLARK: He said the tires were down to the rim.

COURT: Yes, he did, but the air pressure was normal in the tires. When a truck is overloaded doesn't it attempt to lower the pressure?

WITNESS: No, sir. The tire pressure in the tire remains constantly [sic], it is just that the tire would sag.

COURT: How could the tire sag without a diminishing of pressure?

WITNESS: More pressure. If I were to go get on my kids bicycle you would see the tire go flat, he gets on there and it is up, yet ...


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