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11/07/88 the People of the State of v. Christopher Keyes

November 7, 1988





530 N.E.2d 708, 175 Ill. App. 3d 1013, 125 Ill. Dec. 550 1988.IL.1621

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Jack Hoogasian, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE REINHARD delivered the opinion of the court. NASH, J., concurs. JUSTICE WOODWARD, Dissenting.


Defendant, Christopher Keyes, entered a plea of guilty in the circuit court of Lake County to the felony offense of driving under the influence of alcohol and, while committing this violation, being involved in a motor vehicle accident which resulted in great bodily harm to Cindy A. Hanna. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(f).) Following a sentencing hearing, defendant was sentenced to a three-year term of imprisonment. Defendant raises various sentencing issues on appeal.

At the time of defendant's guilty plea, the stipulated facts of the offense were that on August 2, 1986, at approximately 6:15 p.m., defendant was the driver of a vehicle which, after failing to stop at a stop sign, collided with a vehicle driven by Arick Hanna in which his wife, Cindy, was a front seat passenger. A subsequent blood-alcohol test revealed defendant's blood-alcohol concentration to be .12. Defendant's license was suspended at the time of the accident. Cindy Hanna suffered severe injuries, including lacerations, two fractured femurs, a fractured ankle, and a fractured pelvis. Cindy was pregnant and a full-size fetus was removed stillborn as a result of trauma caused by the accident.

The presentence investigation report introduced at the sentencing hearing further reveals that Cindy Hanna was hospitalized for almost one month, that Cindy will undergo long rehabilitative therapy and will have permanent scarring and injury. Arick Hanna received no serious personal injury, but did suffer the total loss of his vehicle. Two other passengers in the Hanna vehicle suffered serious injury. The PSI report indicates that the physically injured parties incurred substantial medical expenses, some of which are not covered by their own insurance. Arick Hanna did not have property damage insurance to cover the loss to his vehicle. The PSI report further indicates that all four persons in the Hanna vehicle continue to suffer emotionally from the traumatic incident.

The PSI report also stated that defendant had no prior felony convictions and no juvenile record. He had previously been convicted of several traffic offenses in 1984 and 1985 and his driver's license was suspended. Defendant, who is single, had been steadily employed for the past five years, the last two as a landscaper.

The PSI report further stated that defendant received an evaluation from the Northern Illinois Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse on September 4, 1986. According to the PSI report, the evaluation indicated that defendant displayed a regular, moderate drinking pattern and drank to excess on occasion. NICASA recommended a remedial education program in order to encourage defendant to reduce his level of alcohol consumption, which the evaluation termed problematic.

The Lake County Department of Court Services also prepared an intensive probation supervision evaluation. This report stated that defendant does not seem to display the symptoms normally associated with a severe alcohol problem, but also stated that, according to the NICASA evaluation, defendant needs further education concerning alcohol and its effects. The intensive probation supervision evaluation recommended that defendant be placed on intensive probation instead of being sentenced to the penitentiary.

Defendant's sentencing hearing was held on March 17, 1987. The State submitted Cindy and Arick Hanna's written victim impact statements. Defendant's attorney objected to the submission of Arick's statement, but the trial court overruled the objection. Both victim impact statements mentioned the emotional pain and trauma suffered by the couple as a result of the loss of their baby and Cindy's severe physical injuries. Arick's statement also mentioned that he was not going to receive any money from defendant to compensate the couple for Cindy's medical expenses or for the loss of their car. Defendant testified at the sentencing hearing that he asked Cindy Hanna for forgiveness and that he was cooperating with the Hannas' attorney in a civil suit against him.

Defendant first contends that the trial court improperly considered the victim impact statement of Arick Hanna because it was not authorized by statute. Under section 6 of the Bill of Rights for Victims and Witnesses of Violent Crime Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, par. 1406), victims of violent crimes have the right to present victim impact statements for consideration at sentencing. Any DUI offense which results in personal injury or death is a violent crime under section 3(c) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. ...

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