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People v. Colquitt

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division

September 20, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
GARRY COLQUITT, Defendant-Appellee.

Rehearing denied October 11, 2013

Held [*]

The trial court erred in granting defendant’s motion to quash his arrest and suppress the evidence of his statements and test results in a prosecution for DUI, notwithstanding defendant’s contention that he was illegally seized when an officer sounded his siren and pulled behind defendant’s parked car without probable cause, since the record showed the officer had just made a left turn and was headed east when he saw defendant’s car parked in the roadway headed west, the officer activated his lights and siren, made a “U-turn” and pulled behind defendant’s vehicle, he approached the passenger side, asked defendant some questions and conducted field sobriety tests before arresting him and taking him to the police station, and under the circumstances, the activation of the siren and lights was not a seizure, but was necessary to make the “U-turn, ” and no seizure occurred until the officer discovered evidence that defendant was intoxicated and developed probable cause to justify an arrest.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. YT-242-966-968; the Hon. Noreen Daly, Judge, presiding.

Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Anthony O'Brien, and Iris G. Ferosie, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

Michael J. Pelletier, Alan D. Goldberg, and Christopher R. Bendik, all of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellee.

Justices Lampkin and Reyes concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

GORDON PRESIDING JUSTICE

¶ 1 Defendant Garry Colquitt was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and blocking a roadway. Following a suppression hearing, the trial court granted defendant's pretrial motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence of his statements and field sobriety and Breathalyzer test results. The trial court suppressed the arrest and the evidence on the grounds: (1) that defendant was seized, for fourth amendment purposes, at the moment when a police vehicle pulled behind defendant's vehicle, which was parked on the road, in a lane of traffic and without hazard lights; (2) and that the officer lacked either reasonable suspicion or probable cause to justify this alleged seizure.

¶ 2 On this appeal, the State argues: (1) that a seizure did not occur until a later point in time when the arresting officer noticed a strong smell of alcohol about defendant and observed that defendant's eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred; and (2) that, even if a seizure did occur at the moment when the officer pulled his vehicle behind defendant's parked vehicle, the officer had probable cause to arrest defendant for a traffic violation committed in his presence, namely, the blocking of the roadway. The State further argues that any alleged seizure was also justified under the community caretaking exception.

¶ 3 For the following reasons, we conclude that no seizure occurred when the police vehicle pulled behind defendant's parked vehicle. Since we decide the appeal on this ground, we do not reach the State's remaining arguments.

¶ 4 BACKGROUND

¶ 5 On May 3, 2011, the State charged defendant with DUI and with stopping, standing or parking upon a roadway outside of a business or residence district. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a), 11-1301(a) (West 2010). Section 11-1301(a) states in full:

"Outside a business or residence district, no person shall stop, park or leave standing any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, upon the roadway when it is practicable to stop, park or so leave such vehicle off the roadway, but in every event an unobstructed width of the highway opposite a standing vehicle shall be left for the free passage of other vehicles and clear view of such stopped vehicle shall be available from a distance of 200 feet in each direction upon such highway." 625 ILCS 5/11-1301(a) (West 2010).

¶ 6 Defendant moved to quash the arrest and suppress evidence obtained as a result of his arrest. On January 26, 2012, the trial court held a suppression hearing. At the hearing, the evidence consisted of: (1) the arresting officer's testimony; (2) a video recording from the arresting police officer's vehicle; and (3) an audio police dispatch recording.

¶ 7 Officer Wood[1] of the Tinley Park police department testified that he had been a police officer for six years with the Tinley Park police department. On May 2, 2011, at 11:50 p.m., he was working alone in a marked police vehicle and driving southbound on 80th Avenue in Tinley ...


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