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03/25/94 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. CHRISTOPHER J.

March 25, 1994

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CHRISTOPHER J. STUDLEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County. No. 92T22835. Honorable Jeffrey B. Ford, Judge Presiding.

Petition for Appeal as a Matter of Right or Leave to Appeal Denied October 6, 1994.

Honorable Robert J. Steigmann, J., Honorable James A. Knecht, J., Honorable Robert W. Cook, J.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Steigmann

JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the opinion of the court:

In January 1993, a jury convicted defendant, Christopher J. Studley, of violating section 11-505 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Vehicle Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-505), and the trial court later fined him $75 and court costs. Defendant appeals, alleging that (1) the court erred in applying this statute to a nonmoving vehicle and in interpreting it as an absolute liability offense, and (2) he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

We affirm.

In October 1992, defendant stopped the vehicle he was driving in the left-hand lane behind another car at an intersection in Champaign, Illinois. In the right-hand lane and three cars back from the intersection, Trooper Jackson of the Illinois State Police was also stopped for the traffic signal. Jackson testified at trial that he heard the sound of an engine revving up and accelerating very fast. He saw defendant's vehicle lunge forward and stop abruptly. Then the rear end lifted up, the rotating tires emitted a loud squealing and screeching sound for five to 10 seconds, and smoke developed around the tires. Defendant's vehicle did not move while the tires were squealing and screeching. Defendant testified that he "popped" his toes off the clutch and the tires squealed "like most clutch cars do when you put--when you dump it or pop it when your foot accidentally slips off the clutch."

Section 11-505 of the Vehicle Code provides as follows:

"No person shall operate any motor vehicle in such a manner as to cause or allow to be emitted squealing, screeching or other such noise from the vehicle's tires due to rapid acceleration or excessive speed around corners or other such reason.

This Section shall not apply to the following conditions:

(a) an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or when in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator; nor

(b) the emergency operation of a motor vehicle when avoiding imminent danger; nor

(c) any raceway, racing facility or other public event, not part of a highway, sanctioned by the appropriate governmental authority." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-505.

Defendant claims that the language of section 11-505 prohibiting squealing and screeching of tires pertains only to a moving vehicle. He bases this Conclusion on the section's placement within the Vehicle Code following the offenses of reckless driving (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-503) and drag racing (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-504), and preceding the general speed restrictions (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-601), which he argues shows a legislative intent to prohibit hazardous speeds and movement of vehicles, rather than merely noise. He also claims that "rapid acceleration or excessive speed around corners" refers only to a ...


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