from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will
County, Illinois, Circuit No. 16-TR-57041 Honorable Chrystel
L. Galvin, Judge, Presiding.
E. Chadd, Peter A. Carusona, and Dimitri Golfis, of State
Appellate Defender's Office, of Ottawa, for appellant.
W. Glasgow, State's Attorney, of Joliet (Patrick Delfino,
Thomas D. Arado, and Mark A. Austill, of State's
Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for
JUSTICE LYTTON delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices McDade and O'Brien concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 Defendant, Sonja L. Underwood, was convicted following a
bench trial of driving while license suspended. On appeal,
she argues the State failed to introduce independent evidence
corroborative of her admission and thus failed to establish
the corpus delicti. We affirm.
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 The State charged defendant by citation with driving while
license suspended (625 ILCS 5/6-303(a) (West 2016)).
Defendant subsequently waived her right to a jury trial, and
a bench trial commenced on May 19, 2017.
4 Officer William Otis of the Joliet Police Department
testified that he responded to the scene of an accident on
August 14, 2016. Otis testified that upon his arrival at the
scene, he observed that "[t]here were two vehicles
already pulled into the BP gas station at 6 McDonough."
The two vehicles were a Ford Explorer and an Acura. Otis
testified that he spoke with "both drivers of the
vehicles," though he could not recall whether the
drivers were inside or outside of their respective vehicles
when he arrived.
5 Otis testified that he spoke with the driver of the Ford
Explorer, who he identified as defendant. According to Otis,
defendant told him that she was attempting to turn at the
intersection of McDonough Street and Chicago Street when the
other driver struck her vehicle. Otis observed damage to both
vehicles that corresponded to the version of events provided
by defendant. Otis testified that part of his training to
become a police officer included training in the
reconstruction of traffic accidents. He had undertaken
additional accident reconstruction courses since that
6 On cross-examination, Otis agreed that he did not know the
amount of time the two vehicles had been parked at the gas
station prior to his arrival. He also agreed that the
registered owner of the Ford Explorer was Richard Williamson.
On redirect, Otis testified that defendant admitted to
driving the Ford Explorer when it was involved in the
accident. The State submitted into evidence a driving
abstract, which established that a suspension of
defendant's driver's license was in effect on the day
of the accident.
7 The court found defendant guilty of driving while license
suspended. Defendant was sentenced to a term of 24
months' conditional discharge and 300 hours of community
service. Defendant appeals.
8 II. ANALYSIS
9 On appeal, defendant argues that the State failed to prove
her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. More specifically, she
argues that the State failed to establish the corpus
delicti by providing sufficient ...