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People v. Malone

OPINION FILED MAY 12, 1982.

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

v.

GLEN MALONE, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Marshall County; the Hon. EDWARD E. HAUGENS, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE HEIPLE DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Glen Malone was charged with reckless homicide for allegedly striking the rear of Shirley Greer's car and forcing that vehicle into the passing train which resulted in her death. Three days after the accident, a search warrant was obtained to search Malone's car and seize components thereof which were to be tested and used as evidence at the trial. Prior to trial, Malone moved to quash the warrant and suppress the evidence seized. Malone's motion was granted and the State appeals this ruling.

Close to midnight on May 8, 1981, an accident occurred at the intersection of Illinois Route 26 and Santa Fe railroad tracks six miles south of Lacon in Marshall County, Illinois. When George E. Crank, chief investigator for the sheriff of Marshall County, arrived at the scene, he observed two vehicles: a 1976 red and white Oldsmobile and a 1973 blue Chevrolet. The Oldsmobile had been driven by Shirley Greer. It had struck the train and been dragged two miles, caught fire and burned. Shirley Greer was pronounced dead at the scene. The blue Chevrolet was found by Officer Crank 200 yards from the tracks with extensive front end damage. Officer Crank impounded the blue 1973 Chevrolet and had it towed to Jim's Body Shop on Route 29 in Henry, Illinois.

Three days later Deputy Sheriff Crank filed a complaint for a search warrant for the blue 1973 Chevrolet. We set out the complaint in full as follows:

"George E. Crank of the Marshall County Sheriff's Office, Complainant, now appears before the undersigned Circuit Judge of the Tenth Judicial Circuit of Illinois and requests the issuance of a Search Warrant to search a 1973 four-door Chevrolet automobile, Vehicle Identification No. 1L69H3S217874, Vehicle Registration No. 235847, located at Route 29, South Edge of Henry, Marshall County, Illinois, and seize the following from said 1973 Chevrolet automobile: speedometer assembly, headlights, paint scrappings [sic] off front end, debris off front end, grill and rear tail lights; and to inspect and examine the windshield wipers and braking system which constitute evidence or fruits of the offense of Reckless Homicide by Glen Malone, defendant, in violation of Sec. 9-3(a) Chapter 38 of the Illinois Revised Statutes.

I further say that I have probable cause and reasonable cause to believe, and do believe, that the above-listed items to be seized are now located on the premises described above, because of the following facts:

I am Chief Investigator for the Marshall County Sheriff. At approximately 12:30 a.m. on May 9, 1981, I was called to investigate a traffic collision which occurred on Route 26 at the Santa Fe tracks about six miles south of Lacon, Marshall County, Illinois. When I arrived at the scene, I observed that the vehicles involved were the above-described 1973 Chevrolet, a blue four-door automobile bearing Illinois Vehicle Registration No. 235847 and Vehicle Identification No. 1L69H3S217874, and a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass, red and white, two-door automobile, bearing Illinois Vehicle Registration No. IA 933 and Vehicle Identification No. 3G37R6M387296, which was driven by Shirley Greer. Shirley Greer was dead at the scene.

The physical evidence at the scene showed that the 1973 Chevrolet automobile was driven northbound by Glen Malone as it approached the Santa Fe tracks about six miles south of Lacon in Marshall County as aforesaid. The 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass driven by Shirley Greer had stopped in the northbound lane at said Railroad tracks in response to the red flashing railroad lights while a freight train was passing and defendant Glen Malone, who was driving at a speed that was greater than was reasonable and proper with regard to the existing traffic and conditions and the safety of persons properly upon the roadway, drove his automobile in and against the rear end of the automobile driven by Shirley Greer, causing the said automobile driven by Shirley Greer to crash into a train, causing the death of said Shirley Greer.

The said 1973 Chevrolet automobile was driven from the scene to a point approximately 200 yards north of the Santa Fe Railroad tracks, where it was observed by this Affiant. This Affiant observed extensive damage to the front end of said 1973 Chevrolet automobile and this Affiant had the said vehicle towed to Jim's Body Shop, which is located on Route 29 at the south edge of Henry, Marshall County, Illinois.

That the said 1976 Oldsmobile automobile was dragged by the train for approximately two miles, with decedent in said automobile. Her automobile was demolished, had caught fire, and burned her causing her death.

The Department of Law Enforcement of the State of Illinois now has a procedure whereby they can determine the speed of a vehicle at the time of impact by examination of the speedometer assembly. A determination of the speed of the 1973 Chevrolet automobile is crucial to the investigation of this collision.

The Department of Law Enforcement now has a procedure whereby they can examine the headlights and the tail lights and determine whether the lights were lit at the time of the collision. A determination as to whether the tail lights and headlights were lit at the time of the collision is crucial to the investigation of this collision.

The Affiant also desires to have paint scrappings [sic] to confirm whether the 1973 Chevrolet automobile was involved in a collision with the said 1976 Oldsmobile. The naked eye can observe paint on the 1973 Chevrolet which obviously does not belong there and could have been transferred to said automobile as a result of said collision.

The naked eye can observe paint on debris found at the scene of the collision which this Affiant believes matches the paint on the 1976 Oldsmobile and the 1973 Chevrolet. I also desire to take all debris off the front end of the 1973 Chevrolet to confirm whether that ...


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