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Village of Mundelein v. Thompson

July 17, 2003

THE VILLAGE OF MUNDELEIN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ROBERT C. THOMPSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 01-DT-5616 Honorable Helen Rozenberg Franks, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Byrne

PUBLISHED

The Village of Mundelein appeals from an order of the circuit court of Lake County suppressing evidence obtained as a result of an allegedly illegal investigatory stop of defendant, Robert C. Thompson, and rescinding the statutory summary suspension of defendant's driver's license, pursuant to section 11--501.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code) (625 ILCS 5/11--501.1 (West 2000)), for driving under the influence of alcohol. We dismiss the appeal of the portion of the order suppressing evidence and reverse the portion of the order rescinding the summary suspension.

The parties purportedly stipulated to a statement of facts for use at the suppression hearing. Both parties filed memoranda of law prior to the hearing, each of which contained a section entitled "Stipulated Facts" that referred to a transcript of a dispatch tape from the Mundelein police department. The two statements of stipulated facts are not identical, and, in fact, vary significantly in their phrasing at the critical juncture. There is no indication that any other evidence was presented. We therefore take the sequence of events from the points at which the statements agree, except that for the critical events we provide both the Village's and defendant's statements.

On December 7, 2001, shortly after 2 a.m., a male caller contacted the Mundelein police department to report that he was "following a guy in a van who seems to be drunk" and that the van was "all over the road." He described the van and provided its full license plate number. The dispatcher radioed a message to Officer Kaplan of the Mundelein police department with a description of the van and its license number.

Beyond this, defendant states:

"The dispatcher then continues the conversation with the person who is still at this time unidentified who indicates 'they got him right now. They are right behind him.' At this time Officer Lechner (who has heard the dispatch to Officer Kaplan) *** attempts to stop the vehicle as the caller provides the dispatcher with his name and address commenting at the same time 'Man, this guy's refusing to stop.' At the request of the dispatcher, the caller then goes on to provide the dispatcher an address and phone number."

There is no indication of when the van actually pulled to the side of the road, nor is there discussion of whether defendant ever acknowledged the police by means other than pulling over.

The Village states:

"At 2:12:15 the dispatcher continues on with their conversation with the caller to get an update on their location. When the caller advises that they are just passing Family Video, the dispatcher confirms that information. The caller then states, 'They got him right now. They are right behind him.' *** When the dispatcher advises the caller to confirm that it is a minivan, the caller states, 'Yeah, he's right behind him now. I'm in a wrecker.' Officer Lechner eventually stops the defendant's minivan on Route 83 south of Midlothian Road. (The Village would ask the Court to take judicial notice that the distance from Hawley Street and Gilmer Road to Route 83 and Midlothian Road is approximately 3.1 miles.)

At this point, the dispatcher asks the caller for his name and address. While giving his address, the caller states 'Man, this guy's refusing to stop.' After giving his name and address the caller advises the dispatcher, 'I'm going to standby, behind in case.' "

Defendant, the driver of the van, was eventually arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Defendant filed a motion to quash his arrest and suppress the evidence derived from it and a petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension of his driver's license. On March 15, 2002, the circuit court granted both. It recited that the parties had stipulated to the facts and to the transcript of the dispatch tape, and it ruled that all information available to the Mundelein dispatcher could be imputed to the arresting officer. It further ruled:

"The dispatcher *** failed to obtain sufficient information prior to and up to the initiation of the stop *** including, but not limited to the fact that the dispatcher failed to obtain, at that time, identification of the anonymous caller or verification of his identity or other information so as to provide ...


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