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People v. Schumann





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. Edward V. Kowal, Judge, presiding.


Following a bench trial, defendant, Keith R. Schumann, was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(a)) and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-601(a)). He appeals from his convictions and fines of $350 and $50 respectively, with costs. He contends that he was not proved guilty of either offense beyond a reasonable doubt, that the court erred in allowing a blood sample and the result of the blood analysis in evidence and that various rulings of the trial judge deprived him of a fair trial or the right to have the charges dismissed.


a. Defendant challenges the admission of the blood sample and the blood analysis on the basis of various regulations of the Illinois Department of Public Health (Department) (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.2). The regulations of the Department, entitled Standards and Procedures for Blood and/or Other Drug Testing by Breath, Blood and Urine Analysis (1982), were admitted into evidence upon the court taking judicial notice of them.

He first argues noncompliance with Department Rule 11.01(a) which states that the "[b]lood sample shall be collected in the presence of the arresting officer or other representative of the arresting officer's agency who can authenticate the sample." The operative facts in this connection are that defendant was taken from the scene of the occurrence by ambulance to Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital where he received treatment in the emergency room. Officer Stadwiser, upon his observation of defendant, believed him to be under the influence of alcohol and at his request defendant consented to a blood test. The officer then went into the X-ray room where defendant was to undergo the blood test; he saw no one else in the room. He witnessed defendant being taken to the X-ray room and met with the woman, identified as Vicki Linjuco, who was to withdraw the blood sample. The officer testified that he remained outside the room, and only an X-ray technician came in and out of the room periodically. Ms. Linjuco handed him two vials which appeared to contain blood and had labels on them. She testified that she withdrew two vials of blood from defendant's arm after checking his patient arm band for proper identification. She further testified that Officer Stadwiser stood next to her while she withdrew blood from defendant, and that she then gave him the two vials of blood, which were identical.

• 1 There was conflicting evidence as to the presence of the officer who testified that he was standing just outside the room, while Vicki Linjuco testified that the officer was next to her while she withdrew the blood. We conclude, however, that under either version of the facts there has been compliance with the underlying purpose of the rule, to insure that the blood sample is authenticated as taken from the defendant by providing that it shall be taken in the presence of the officer who can testify to the identity of the defendant. The testimony assures that the defendant was the one from whom the blood was taken, since there were no other persons, other than hospital personnel, in the room during the procedure.

The defendant argues that the State failed to prove the identity of defendant since Vicki Linjuco could not identify him in court. She could not identify him because, she said, he was covered with blankets and X-ray equipment at the time of the taking of the blood sample. She did, however, identify him according to the name on his hospital arm band prior to taking the blood. In addition, Officer Stadwiser properly identified the defendant in court.

• 2 b. Defendant also challenges Rule 11.01(d)(4) which states that individual containers of blood "shall be appropriately and securely labeled to provide the following information: name of accused, date and time of collection, collecting attendant, authorizing officer's signature and agency identification, type of anticoagulant/preservative." As to the signature requirement, defendant argues that the officer's name was printed in his own handwriting and that this does not constitute his signature. We do not agree. A signature is not required to be written in cursive handwriting. See A.T. Willett Co. v. Industrial Com. (1919), 287 Ill. 487, 493, in which the court noted that a signature is the act of putting down a man's name at the end of an instrument to attest its validity and that words traced with a pen, stamped, printed, engraved or made legible by any other device, including a typewriter, are written.

• 3 Defendant also asserts that the type of anticoagulant/preservative was not indicated on the labels. The evidence shows that the name "disodium *fn1 edetate sodium fluoride" is clearly written on the label. As defendant argues, no State's witness testified as to what the agent is or what it does. Officer Stadwiser, however, did refer to the substance as an anticoagulant; he acquired the name of the agent by asking the person who withdrew the blood. In addition we take judicial notice that disodium edetate sodium fluoride is an anticoagulant/preservative. *fn2

• 4 c. In general, the Department regulations provide that "[t]he identity and integrity of the sample shall be maintained through collection to analysis and reporting." (Rule 11.01(d)(4).) Defendant contends that the blood samples were not taken directly to the Department as required by Rule 11.01(d)(5). He relies on the fact that the blood was withdrawn at approximately 3 a.m. on May 2, 1982, and that it was delivered to the Department at approximately 11:30 a.m. on May 3, 1982, a time span of more than 32 hours. It is relevant to note that the blood was withdrawn on a Sunday morning. It is not unreasonable that the officers would wait until Monday morning, a normal business day, to deliver the sample to the laboratory in Chicago. Further, there is no evidence that the samples may have been tampered with or contaminated. The defendant also fails to state how the 32-hour delay has prejudiced him in any way. We conclude that the purpose of the rule has been adequately complied with.

People v. Leffew (1975), 33 Ill. App.3d 700, cited by defendant in support of his contention that the Department regulations must be strictly complied with, does not require a different conclusion. In Leffew, the doctor drawing the blood sample did not follow the Department rule prohibiting the use of alcohol to disinfect the area of the injection. The results of the blood test were excluded for the reason that the presence of the alcohol could easily produce inaccurate test results. In our view, none of the particular objections of this defendant can be said to produce inaccurate test results.

d. Defendant next argues that Rule 11.01(b) was violated since the blood was not drawn "by a physician licensed to practice medicine, by a registered nurse, or by a trained phlebotomist." The rule implements the provision in the Illinois Vehicle Code which provides that "only a physician authorized to practice medicine, a registered nurse or other qualified person approved by the Department of Public Health may withdraw blood" to determine its alcohol content. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.2(a)(2).

• 5 Defendant contends that because Vicki Linjuco is called a medical technologist and not a phlebotomist, she was not qualified to withdraw defendant's blood. She testified that while a phlebotomist is trained to draw blood but not analyze it, a medical technologist is trained to draw and analyze blood. She further testified that her work consists of drawing blood and then analyzing it; she is registered with the American Society of Clinical Pathologists; she does work in the area of phlebotomy on the night shift when no phlebotomist is on duty; and that she is then a phlebotomist "in a way." The evidence showed that Vicki Linjuco was clearly qualified to withdraw defendant's blood. Merely because she can perform more tasks than a phlebotomist and is not called a phlebotomist is not sufficient criteria to find her unqualified to withdraw blood.

• 6 e. Defendant also contests Department regulations 11.01(d)(2) and (3). Both sections require that two containers or tubes be used to collect the blood sample. Defendant asserts that both containers of blood must be introduced at trial and that the State's failure to produce a second vial was error. However, neither the statute nor the regulations require both vials to be produced at trial. Rule 11.01(d)(6) provides that the testing laboratory shall utilize one container for the Department analysis and shall retain the second container for at least one year. There was testimony that the second vial was kept in the laboratory refrigerator in the event the accused wished to have an independent analysis performed. The production of the second identical vial with the identical blood at trial would serve no purpose. Defendant ...

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