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09/28/89 the People of the State of v. Scott P. Jennings

September 28, 1989





544 N.E.2d 1202, 189 Ill. App. 3d 185, 136 Ill. Dec. 427 1989.IL.1548

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Ford County; the Hon. William M. Roberts, Judge, presiding.


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


Defendant Scott P. Jennings appeals from an order of the circuit court of Ford County entered February 9, 1989, in which the court denied his petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension of his driver's license. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1.) The State also cross-appeals from an order of the court entered that same date staying the summary suspension pending appeal of that court's decision. We affirm.

At the hearing on his petition, defendant testified he had been involved in a motor vehicle accident on the evening of December 16, 1988, in which he sustained injuries. Defendant stated he had been transported to a local hospital. However, he said no one administered blood or breath tests to him following the accident nor did he remember being treated by a registered nurse while at the hospital.

Following defendant's testimony, the State asked the court to make certain findings from a law officer's sworn report prepared by police officer James Morris. Those findings included defendant's arrest for driving under the influence, a description of defendant's physical characteristics observed by the officer, and the results of a blood-alcohol test performed on defendant. It requested the court to deny defendant's petition to rescind based solely on the evidence contained in that report. However, the court denied that request, concluding defendant had established a prima facie case that no blood-alcohol tests were performed on him.

Police officer James Morris then testified that, at approximately 11 or 11:30 p.m. on December 16, 1988, he observed a black 1983 Chevrolet Camaro run a stop sign, slide, and almost run into his squad car. He admitted the weather conditions on the evening in question were "terrible," as it was snowing, and there had been some sleet and freezing rain which had caused icy pavements.

The officer said that, after he observed the car in question, he turned on his lights and sirens, and the car fled at a high rate of speed. He followed the car and found it after the driver had driven the car into a tree. The officer discovered the driver was unconscious and had several gashes in his forehead. He also smelled of alcohol. The officer immediately called for an ambulance.

Officer Morris stated he asked defendant at the hospital whether he had been drinking, and defendant responded he had. He also observed the defendant had watery and bloodshot eyes and appeared to be somewhat confused. Officer Morris said he strongly believed defendant had been under the influence of alcohol while driving his vehicle.

The officer said he twice read defendant the warning to motorists pursuant to section 11-501.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501.1). He said defendant told him he understood those warnings and then consented, both verbally and by signing a hospital consent form, to a blood test. The officer stated he was present when a nurse drew two vials of blood from the defendant. He said he labeled the vials and mailed them to a laboratory for analysis.

Over defense objection to any matters contained in the law officer's sworn report based upon hearsay and lack of foundation grounds, the officer testified he received the results of the blood test and then prepared his law officer's sworn report as provided by law. He said he mailed a copy of that report to defendant, which report indicated the results of the blood test performed on defendant had disclosed a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.15.

Officer Morris conceded during cross-examination he did not know what training the nurse who performed the blood test on defendant had received. He further indicated he did not have direct knowledge of whether the laboratory which performed the analysis on defendant's blood was ...

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