Defendant in fatal wrong-way crash wants evidence suppressed

A man from New Athens, Illinois, who is awaiting trial on charges of aggravated DUI resulting in death and reckless homicide is attempting to persuade the court to suppress important evidence in the case. Police obtained a warrant to search the defendant’s truck for evidence of alcohol consumption, and the defendant wants the results of the search excluded from evidence at trial because police failed to follow proper procedures.

The accident occurred on July 8, 2017, when the defendant allegedly crossed the centerline on Highway 15 and collided with a vehicle heading in the opposite direct. Both men in the other vehicle were killed, while the defendant survived the accident. After the accident, Belleville police filed an affidavit seeking a search warrant authorizing them to search the defendant’s truck for the event recorder and any evidence “related to the consumption, use or possession of alcohol or marijuana.” The affidavit accompanying the search warrant application quoted emergency personnel as telling police that they smelled alcohol on the defendant’s breath. The affidavit also stated that police officers found cold cans of beer and prescription pill bottles when they inventoried the contents of the vehicle after it was removed from the scene of the accident.

Police also interviewed the defendant several months after the accident. According to the defendant’s attorney, police failed to provide a proper Miranda warning prior to the interview. The failure to warn a defendant of his rights is often the basis for excluding evidence, especially any statement that may be construed as a confession.

The court has not yet ruled on the defense motions, but this case demonstrates the wisdom of consulting an experienced DUI defense attorney for advice. The motions to exclude evidence in this case may lead to an acquittal or at least improve the chances of obtaining a favorable plea agreement that will reduce the severity of penalties that may be imposed if the defendant were to be convicted after a trial.