APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
548 N.E.2d 36, 191 Ill. App. 3d 405, 138 Ill. Dec. 806 1989.IL.1862
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. John J. Bowman, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE REINHARD delivered the opinion of the court. DUNN, J., concurs. JUSTICE McLAREN, Dissenting.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE REINHARD
On appeal, defendant raises two issues: (1) whether the evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant was "involved" in a motor vehicle accident within the meaning of section 11-401 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-401); and (2) whether, if defendant was involved in a motor vehicle accident, she complied with sections 11-401(b) and 11-403 of the Code.
The following relevant facts were adduced at defendant's bench trial. On September 27, 1987, at approximately 11:30 p.m., defendant was driving east on Lake Street in Addison, Illinois. In the passenger seat was her boyfriend, Tim Jones. Defendant was followed by a friend, Richard Barsanti, who was approximately one car length behind defendant's vehicle. Defendant, Jones, and Barsanti had previously been at a wedding reception. Barsanti was following defendant to Hillside, Illinois. Immediately behind Barsanti's vehicle was a third vehicle with five occupants, one of whom was Lisa DeNittis, who was seated in the left rear passenger seat, and another was Rosemary Tucker, who was seated in the middle rear passenger seat.
Lake Street is a four-lane road at the location of the accident with two lanes in each direction. There is some street lighting along Lake Street at this location. Although there is some discrepancy between several witnesses as to whether the three vehicles were in the inside lane or the curb lane as they proceeded east on Lake Street, it is clear that the Barsanti vehicle was immediately behind defendant's vehicle and followed closely by the vehicle containing DeNittis and Tucker.
While the various witnesses disagree as to certain details, the collective testimony establishes that a pedestrian attempted to cross Lake Street from north to south. Both DeNittis and Tucker testified that as the pedestrian attempted to cross the eastbound lanes of Lake Street, he was struck by the left side of defendant's vehicle, appeared to tumble or fall, and was hit head on by Barsanti's vehicle. The pedestrian, Richard Herman, died as a result of the injuries sustained in this incident.
Defendant testified that as she was driving east on Lake Street, she observed the pedestrian crossing Lake Street toward her vehicle. Defendant was forced to swerve sharply to the right to avoid hitting the pedestrian, and as she swerved, she heard a "thump" toward the rear of her vehicle. She immediately pulled over to the curb and stopped. She stated that she did not know if the pedestrian came in contact with her vehicle.
Jones, who had been sleeping, exited defendant's vehicle and went back to Barsanti's vehicle. Defendant also exited her vehicle and walked around it to see if it had sustained any damage, which, according to defendant, it had not. She then sat in the front passenger seat previously occupied by Jones.
The vehicle in which DeNittis and Tucker were passengers also pulled over and stopped. Rosemary Tucker testified that she went up to defendant, who was standing beside the passenger door of her vehicle, and observed defendant to be upset, crying, and hysterical. According to Tucker, defendant said "y God, I hit him; I can't believe I hit him."
Although defendant's and Jones' testimony differs somewhat as to the subsequent events, it appears that defendant remained on or near the scene of the accident for between 45 minutes and two hours. Defendant apparently sat on a nearby porch for part of that time, and eventually Jones returned to her and told her to get into her vehicle, and he drove her home.
The evidence establishes that there were five or six police officers at the scene from time to time while defendant and Jones were present. Defendant did not talk to any police officers at the scene, nor did she contact the police within three hours after the accident. Jones testified that he attempted to approach the Barsanti vehicle and ...