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People v. Casper





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Union County; the Hon. HOWARD HOOD, Judge, presiding.


Defendant Loy N. Casper was found guilty of reckless homicide following a bench trial in Union County. Defendant was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant contends that the statutory requirements were not met with regard to an analysis of his blood. Defendant alternatively appeals from his sentence, arguing that the presentence investigation report did not conform to statutory requirements.

On January 1, 1980, at approximately 7:30 p.m., defendant Loy Casper was arrested after his car crossed the center line of East Vienna Street, in Anna, Illinois, and collided with a car driven by William Curtis Schuster, killing him. Defendant's car continued about 190 feet and stopped against the foundation of a house.

There was testimony concerning the actions of the defendant prior to the accident. He had called in an order to Kentucky Fried Chicken and picked it up around 7 p.m. The person who waited on the defendant stated that the defendant swayed a little and had trouble talking. Another witness testified that he saw the defendant's car traveling down Vienna Street at 60 to 70 miles per hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone. A witness who observed the accident testified that the defendant was veering in and out of his lane several times before he collided with the victim.

After the accident, the defendant and William Schuster were taken to the hospital. William Schuster was pronounced dead on arrival. The defendant, although a bit groggy, was conscious and signed a consent form for a blood analysis. The blood was withdrawn by Janet Rinehart, a lab supervisor, at Dr. Loomis' direction, and analysis was done by Veronica Rotterman. The defendant's blood ethanol level was .398 percent by weight.

Defendant contends that the court erred in allowing into evidence the results of the blood alcohol test because the State failed to demonstrate compliance with section 11-501(d) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(d)), which provides as follows:

"Chemical analysis of the person's blood or breath to be considered valid under this Section must be performed according to uniform standards adopted by the State Department of Public Health, in cooperation with the Superintendent of State Police, and by an individual possessing a valid permit issued by that Department for this purpose. The State Department of Public Health is authorized to approve satisfactory techniques or methods to ascertain the qualifications and competence of individuals to conduct such analysis and to issue permits which shall be subject to termination or revocation at the direction of the State Department of Public Health."

Janet Rinehart, who withdrew the defendant's blood, was working in the emergency room January 1, 1980, when the defendant was brought into the hospital. On the order of the attending physician, Ms. Rinehart drew blood from defendant for testing after the defendant had signed a consent form. There is no question that Ms. Rinehart was medically qualified to draw blood, that she was the lab supervisor at Union County Hospital, that she held a bachelor of science degree, and that she drew blood every day at the hospital.

Defendant contends that Ms. Rinehart did not have a valid permit issued by the State Department of Public Health in accordance with section 11-501(d). Defendant also relies upon People v. Leffew (1975), 33 Ill. App.3d 700, 338 N.E.2d 480, which found the language of the statute mandatory and denied admissibility of blood test results where the doctor taking the blood sample did not follow a Department of Health rule prohibiting the use of alcohol to disinfect the area from which the blood sample was taken.

The permit requirements of section 11-501(d) would appear to apply to the person who actually analyzes the blood sample, rather than to the person who takes it, where different people perform these functions. It is undisputed that Janet Rinehart merely took the blood sample here.

Leffew indicates that the Department of Health Standards alluded to in section 11-501(d) include a rule governing the taking of the blood sample. Unlike Leffew, however, the defendant here advances absolutely no basis for concluding that any Department of Health standard was violated. Even where specific deficiencies in blood alcohol test procedures have been asserted, courts> have declined to assume a violation where, as here, the defendant fails to introduce any evidence in support thereof. People v. Winfield (1975), 30 Ill. App.3d 668, 332 N.E.2d 634; People v. Crawford (1974), 23 Ill. App.3d 398, 318 N.E.2d 743.

Veronica Rotterman, who did the blood analysis, was qualified to do so. Testimony showed that Ms. Rotterman has worked for the Department of Public Health in the toxicology section for 12 years. Her job during those 12 years has been to perform analyses on blood and other body fluids. She has a bachelor of science degree, years of hospital experience, and performs about 3000 blood analyses a year. Ms. Rotterman used an approved method for testing the defendant's blood. Defendant did not question Ms. Rotterman concerning the method she used to test the defendant's blood.

• 1 Defendant offers no basis for concluding that Ms. Rotterman violated the Department of Health Standards. The testimony showed that Ms. Rotterman was qualified to perform the analysis and that she used a reliable testing procedure. The testimony sufficiently established compliance with statutory standards. We find the defendant's contentions without merit.

Alternatively, defendant argues that this cause must be remanded for resentencing due to the failure of the presentence report to include information about special resources in the community which might be available to assist in the defendant's rehabilitation, as required by section 5-3-2(a)(2) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 1005-3-2(a)(2)). Defendant also contends that the presentence report should have included a plan for ...

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