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12/22/88 the People of the State of v. Brad G. Pelc

December 22, 1988

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

BRAD G. PELC, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

532 N.E.2d 552, 177 Ill. App. 3d 737, 126 Ill. Dec. 867 1988.IL.1860

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Champaign County; the Hon. John R. DeLaMar, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE McCULLOUGH delivered the opinion of the court. SPITZ and GREEN, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MCCULLOUGH

On February 12, 1988, defendant was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501(a)) as the result of an accident which had occurred earlier that evening. Defendant was issued notice of the statutory summary suspension of his driving privileges (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1) and filed a petition to rescind the summary suspension (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 95 1/2, par. 2-118.1). Defendant appeals the trial court's denial of his petition, arguing the trial court erred in admitting his pre- Miranda statements, the arresting officer lacked probable cause to arrest him, and the operator of the breathalyzer machine was not properly qualified.

We affirm.

Donald Shepard, a police officer for the City of Champaign, testified he issued defendant a ticket for driving under the influence of alcohol on February 12, 1988. He did not see defendant drive a vehicle that evening. He met defendant at his room in a student housing facility and issued the ticket. Defendant then rested his case.

On cross-examination, Shepard stated he was sent to the scene of an accident at 7:38 p.m. on February 12. He saw a vehicle with its emergency lights on parked in the eastbound traffic lane on Armory Street. The driver of the vehicle, Robyn Key, a pizza delivery person, stated she had just been involved in an accident. Key had delivered a pizza and was completing a location sheet when the rear of her vehicle was bumped by another vehicle. Key related that both drivers exited their vehicles. The driver of the other car staggered, almost fell, smelled of alcohol, and had very bloodshot eyes. Key asked him where they should go to call the police. The other driver asked if they could not wait until the next day to report the accident. Key stated they should call that night. The other driver then gave her the year and make of his car. Since traffic was on the road, Key suggested they move their cars off the street. The other driver returned to his vehicle and took off. Key wrote his license plate number down.

Shepard stated he then ran the license plate number, found the car registered in the St. Louis area to defendant, looked for defendant in the student directory, and located his room number. Shepard, accompanied by a desk clerk, went to defendant's room. The door was open and defendant was lying on his bed. However, after Shepard knocked on the door, defendant opened his eyes and told Shepard to enter.

Shepard further stated he asked whether defendant had recently been involved in an accident. Defendant stated that he had been. Shepard observed defendant's eyes were bloodshot, his clothing mussed, his breath smelled of alcohol, and his speech was extremely slurred. It had been approximately 45 to 50 minutes since the accident, although defendant thought it had been an hour and a half. Shepard gave defendant several field tests. Defendant did poorly on two of them.

Shepard did not observe any open alcohol containers in the room, though he looked for them. He arrested defendant for driving under the influence of alcohol. Defendant then said he had consumed alcohol after the accident. On redirect examination, Shepard stated the roads were icy on February 12, 1988. He issued Key a ticket for parking illegally.

Dale Miholic, a Champaign police officer, testified he is an operator for breath-testing machines and is licensed by the Department of Health. His license was valid on February 12, 1988. The court overruled defendant's objection on best evidence grounds. Miholic administered a breathalyzer test to defendant on February 12, 1988. A copy of his license was admitted into evidence. The license shows it was issued to a "Dale Mihole." The breathalyzer test showed defendant had a blood-alcohol content of .16. The trial court denied defendant's petition to rescind the summary suspension of defendant's driving privileges.

Initially, defendant argues he should have been advised of his rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona (1966), 384 U.S. 436, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694, 86 S. Ct. 1602, prior to Shepard's questioning him about involvement in an accident. The State argues Miranda does not apply ...


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