from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County, No. 11-CF-724;
the Hon. Jan V. Fiss, Judge, presiding.
M. Storment III, of Belleville, for appellant.
Brendan F. Kelly, State's Attorney, of Belleville
(Patrick Delfino, Stephen E. Norris, and Patrick D. Daly, all
of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office,
of counsel), for the People.
PRESIDING JUSTICE SCHWARM delivered the judgment of the
court, with opinion. Justices Welch and Goldenhersh concurred
in the judgment and opinion.
SCHWARM, PRESIDING JUSTICE.
1 After refusing to submit to a breath test following his
arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), the
defendant, Stephen Harrison, was taken to a hospital where
samples of his blood were drawn without a warrant or his
consent. Testing of the samples revealed that more than two
hours after the defendant had been driving, his blood-alcohol
concentration (BAC) was over twice the legal limit of 0.08.
The defendant later moved to suppress the test results,
arguing that the blood samples had been illegally obtained.
Following the trial court's denial of the defendant's
motion, the cause proceeded to a jury trial where the
defendant was convicted on two counts of aggravated DUI.
2 On appeal, the defendant contends that the trial court
erred in denying his motion to suppress. In support of this
contention, the defendant relies on Missouri v.
McNeely, 569 U.S. __, 133 S.Ct. 1552 (2013), and
People v. Armer, 2014 IL App (5th) 130342, both of
which stand for the propositions that the natural dissipation
of alcohol in the bloodstream is not a per se
exigent circumstance justifying a warrantless, nonconsensual
draw of a DUI suspect's blood and that the reasonableness
of such a draw must be decided on a case-by-case basis by
considering the totality of the circumstances. Citing
Davis v. United States, 564 U.S. 229, 131 S.Ct. 2419
(2011), and People v. Jones, 214 Ill.2d 187 (2005),
the State counters that because prior to McNeely and
Armer, a warrantless, nonconsensual draw of a DUI
suspect's blood was authorized by binding precedent
interpreting section 11-501.2(c)(2) of the Illinois Vehicle
Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(c)(2) (West 2010)), the trial court
properly denied the defendant's motion on the basis that
the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule was
applicable under the circumstances. For the reasons that
follow, we agree with the State and affirm the trial
4 On March 3, 2011, at approximately 9:30 p.m., the defendant
was driving his pickup truck home from a bar when he
"T-boned" an oncoming motorcycle while making a
left turn across Lebanon Avenue at Center Plaza Drive in
Belleville. The motorcycle's rider, Jason Wilson,
sustained a massive injury to his left leg as a result and
was transported by ambulance to St. Elizabeth's Hospital
in Belleville. A witness to the accident described
Wilson's leg as "pretty much amputated" at the
scene, and Wilson later recalled that he had panicked when he
"thought [he] saw bone sticking out of it and blood
squirting out." Wilson was ultimately airlifted to St.
Louis University Hospital, where his left leg was surgically
amputated at the knee.
5 Officer Anthony Branchini of the Belleville police
department responded to the scene of the accident shortly
after it occurred. Branchini spoke with the defendant and two
independent eyewitnesses but was unable to talk to Wilson
"because of the condition that he was in." While
speaking with the defendant, Branchini noticed that the
defendant had red, glossy eyes and an odor of alcohol
emanating from his person. Acknowledging that he had struck
Wilson with his truck, the defendant told Branchini that he
had just left a bar in Shiloh where he had consumed "two
beers." Branchini subsequently administered various
field sobriety tests, all of which the defendant failed.
Believing that the defendant had been operating his vehicle
under the influence of alcohol, Branchini placed him under
arrest for DUI.
6 After the defendant refused to submit to a breath test at
the Belleville police department, Branchini transported him
to St. Elizabeth's Hospital so that samples of his blood
could be drawn for toxicological testing. At trial, Branchini
indicated that he had obtained the blood samples "[d]ue
to the severity of [Wilson's] injuries" and that
there were "special laws" that allowed him to do
7 At 11:45 p.m., a nurse at St. Elizabeth's drew two
samples of the defendant's blood at Branchini's
request. Although the defendant did not agree to the
procedure, he was apparently cooperative while the samples
were collected. A forensic toxicologist later analyzed the
samples, and the analysis revealed that the concentration of
ethanol in the blood was 0.161 grams per deciliter.
8 On October 29, 2014, the defendant filed a motion to
suppress the test results derived from the blood draw. Citing
Armer, the defendant maintained that the blood draw
was a nonconsensual, warrantless search and seizure and that
"there were no exigent circumstances which would excuse
the need for a warrant."
9 At the hearing on the defendant's motion to suppress,
the State argued that Armer was distinguishable from
the present case because it had not involved an accident
resulting in death or personal injury to another. Citing
Jones, the State further argued that Branchini had
acted in good-faith reliance on established precedent holding
that warrantless, nonconsensual blood draws were permissible