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07/13/89 the People of the State of v. Gary L. Wolf

July 13, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

GARY L. WOLF, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

541 N.E.2d 823, 185 Ill. App. 3d 552, 133 Ill. Dec. 612 1989.IL.1099

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Livingston County; the Hon. Charles H. Frank, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE SPITZ delivered the opinion of the court. McCULLOUGH, P.J., and GREEN, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE SPITZ

Defendant Gary L. Wolf was charged on July 12, 1988, by uniform traffic citation and complaint, filed in the circuit court of Livingston County, with driving while license revoked. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-303(a).) On July 27, 1988, the defendant filed a motion requesting that the State be ordered to file a verified complaint. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, par. 111-3.) The trial court allowed the defendant's motion, and on August 4, 1988, the State filed a verified criminal complaint charging the defendant with driving while license revoked (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-303(a)). Specifically, the complaint alleged that the defendant "drove and was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, to-wit: a 1981 GMC Truck, upon a highway of this State, to-wit: upon County Highway 3150 N. at County Highway 675 E., Livingston County, Illinois, at a time when his driver's license, permit and privilege so to do and the privilege to obtain a driver's license or permit was revoked, said offense having occurred upon County Highway 3150 N. at County Highway 675 E., Livingston County, Illinois."

A jury trial commenced on September 13, 1988, and the following evidence was presented. Livingston County Deputy Sheriff Eldon Finkenbinder testified for the State. Finkenbinder testified that on the evening of July 12, 1988, he received a call to respond to an automobile accident that had occurred at the intersection of roads 3150 North and 675 East, approximately one mile southeast of Streator. Finkenbinder arrived at the scene at approximately 8:15 p.m. and observed a 1988 Oldsmobile automobile that had been involved in an accident "in the right-hand ditch eastbound." Four people were standing near the automobile. He later noticed a four-wheel drive GMC pickup truck, with a field sprayer attached to the rear, parked on the roadway approximately 80 yards west of the scene of the accident.

A man then walked from the direction of the pickup truck, approached Finkenbinder's squad car and had a conversation with Finkenbinder. Finkenbinder recognized the man as the defendant. Finkenbinder had known the defendant previously and was aware that the defendant was a licensed field sprayer. The defendant informed Finkenbinder that he had been driving the truck. According to Finkenbinder, the defendant "stated he was southbound on the blacktop road, and that he thought he saw a car behind him. Thinking that it might have been a squad car, he was trying to leave the area . . . [because] he was driving revoked." Finkenbinder testified that the defendant stated "he knew he was revoked." The defendant informed Finkenbinder that he was proceeding to the Barry Highland farm, located approximately 1 1/2 miles west and 1 1/4 miles south of Cornell.

Finkenbinder testified that he observed skid marks on the road, which "started before the intersection . . . [and curved] to the right around the corner." He further testified that the defendant's vehicle was not headed south, in the direction of the farm near Cornell. Finkenbinder estimated that the scene of the accident was located approximately 12 miles from Cornell. Finkenbinder noted that 675 East and 3150 North were publicly maintained State highways. Finkenbinder described the defendant's vehicle as a "standard" 1981 GMC four-wheel drive pickup truck. The truck was pulling a "trailer type" field sprayer which had "a thousand gallon water tank on it with spray booms . . . in the folded up position."

Finkenbinder testified on cross-examination that he did not see the defendant in his truck. He was aware that the defendant's license had been revoked. Finkenbinder did not examine the engine of the truck. He was shown pictures of the truck and acknowledged that it had "additional equipment."

Admitted in evidence as People's exhibit No. 2 was a document from the Secretary of State certifying that a revocation order had been entered against the driving privileges of the defendant on December 12, 1987, and that the revocation was in effect on July 12, 1988.

The first defense witness was Jerry Hogan, who had worked for the defendant for three to four months and lived in the defendant's house. Hogan's duties consisted of driving for the defendant, delivering water, and making repairs. Hogan was working for the defendant on July 12, 1988. The defendant was spraying a field farmed by Dave Stipp and Hogan was delivering water to the defendant. The source of the water used to fill the sprayer tank was a pond located on land owned by Robert Legner. The defendant was using his GMC pickup truck and a John Deere "pull-type sprayer with a ground-driven pump." Hogan described the sprayer and noted that it could not move on its own power and had to be pulled. Hogan believed that the defendant had been operating the truck and sprayer for approximately four to five years. Hogan was shown various photographs of the truck and sprayer unit and described certain modifications made to the truck to accommodate the sprayer. Hogan testified that to his knowledge, the defendant did not use the truck for any purpose other than hauling the sprayer unit. The defendant did drive the truck from one field to another to perform the spraying.

On cross-examination Hogan testified that he was not with the defendant at the time of the accident on July 12, 1988. He acknowledged that he had seen the defendant driving the truck without the sprayer in town, before defendant's license had been revoked. Hogan had never driven the truck with the sprayer off, although it was detachable and the truck could be driven at normal highway speeds and could be parked in ordinary parking spaces. Hogan stated that prior to the modifications, defendant's truck was a normal GMC one-ton pickup truck. The truck was not appropriate to use with the sprayer unit until after it was modified.

Defendant's next witness was Robert Legner. Legner testified that he was a farmer and had hired the defendant to spray his fields, located in Sunbury and Nevada Townships. Legner identified the pictures of defendant's pickup truck and sprayer unit as the equipment used by defendant in spraying Legner's fields. Legner also described the modifications made to the truck to accommodate the sprayer. Legner testified that the defendant had made arrangements ...


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