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Joshua andrew Odom v. Jesse White

March 30, 2011

JOSHUA ANDREW ODOM,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JESSE WHITE, ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.
JASON H. JANES,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JESSE WHITE, ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jefferson County. No. 09-MR-2 Honorable Joe Harrison, Judge, presiding. Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jefferson County. No. 09-MR-27 Honorable Terry H. Gamber,Judge, presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Welch

NOTICE

The text of INTHE this decision may be changed or corrected prior to the filing of a Peti tion for Rehearing or th e disposition of the same.

APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS FIFTH DISTRICT

JUSTICE WELCH delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Presiding Justice Chapman and Justice Donovan concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

These cases, consolidated in this court for oral argument and decision only, come before us on administrative review from the circuit court of Jefferson County, which affirmed the decisions of the Illinois Secretary of State (the Secretary) to deny the appellants' petitions to rescind the suspensions of their driving privileges pursuant to section 6-206(a)(31) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (the Code) (625 ILCS 5/6-206(a)(31) (West 2008)). Both appellants had been drivers of motor vehicles that were involved in motor vehicle accidents involving personal injuries to individuals who were transported from the scene in ambulances. At all the stages of the proceedings, the appellants have argued only that the motor vehicle accidents did not involve the types of personal injuries enumerated in the statute as conferring their implied consent to blood-alcohol tests.

Some discussion of the statutory scheme may be helpful to further the discussion of the facts and the law. Section 6-206(a)(31) of the Code gives the Secretary discretionary authority to suspend or revoke the driving privileges of any person upon sufficient evidence that the person has refused to submit to a blood-alcohol test as required by section 11-501.6 of the Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501.6 (West 2008)) or has submitted to a test resulting in an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. 625 ILCS 5/6-206(a)(31) (West 2008).

Section 11-501.6(a) of the Code provides that any person who drives or is in actual control of a motor vehicle upon the public highways and who has been involved in an accident resulting in personal injury or death for which he has been arrested for a nonequipment violation, as evidenced by the issuance of a traffic ticket, shall be deemed to have given consent for a blood-alcohol test. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.6(a) (West 2008). For purposes of this section, a personal injury is defined as follows:

"includ[ing] any type A injury as indicated on the traffic accident report completed by a law enforcement officer that requires immediate professional attention in either a doctor's office or a medical facility. A type A injury shall include severely bleeding wounds, distorted extremities, and injuries that require the injured party to be carried from the scene." 625 ILCS 5/11-501.6(g) (West 2008).

Although this paragraph of the statute speaks in terms of inclusion, the supreme court has held that type A injuries are limited to those listed in the paragraph: severely bleeding wounds, distorted extremities, or injuries that require the injured party to be carried from the scene. Fink v. Ryan, 174 Ill. 2d 302, 310 (1996). Personal injuries requiring only a visit to a doctor's office or a medical facility, without severe bleeding, distorted extremities, or the need for the injured party to be carried from the scene, do not qualify as type A injuries. This ensures that only drivers involved in more serious accidents, in which the expectation of privacy is diminished and the administration of the blood-alcohol test is minimally intrusive, are subjected to testing. Fink, 174 Ill. 2d at 311. Because the statute does not require that the law enforcement officer have any suspicion or cause to believe that the driver is intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol prior to asking him to submit to testing, its application must be so limited only to motor vehicle accidents of a more serious nature. Fink, 174 Ill. 2d at 309-12.

A person may contest the suspension of his driving privileges by requesting an administrative hearing with the Secretary in accordance with section 2-118 of the Code (625 ILCS 5/2-118 (West 2008)), at the conclusion of which the Secretary may rescind, continue, or modify the order of suspension. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.6(e) (West 2008). The action of the Secretary is subject to judicial review in the circuit court and thereafter in accordance with the Administrative Review Law (735 ILCS 5/3-101 et seq. (West 2008)). 625 ILCS 5/2-118(e) (West 2008).

In both the cases before us, the appellant drivers were asked to and did submit to blood-alcohol tests. Both tests revealed an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. Accordingly, their driving privileges were suspended. Each driver contested the suspension by requesting a hearing before the Secretary, and in each case the Secretary upheld the suspension. Both drivers sought administrative review in the circuit court of Jefferson County, ...


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