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Baffled by DUI ruling – Opinion –

On Behalf of | May 6, 2012 | Illinois DUI Laws |

Baffled by DUI ruling – Opinion –

Here is the newspaper’s opinion verbatim:

The Belleville police’s handling of Fairview Heights Police Sgt. James Krummrich’s DUI is, in a word, a mess. It seems like the work of the Keystone cops.

Krummrich was ticketed for DUI on St. Patrick’s Day following a two-car accident.

Why did Belleville officer Anthony Branchini mark on the report that Krummrich was fit to drive after a DUI ticket? Why, if he had a dashboard video of Krummrich refusing to take a field sobriety test, wasn’t that turned over to prosecutors? And what’s this about a lieutenant not at the scene making decisions?

These and other discrepancies will make it difficult, maybe impossible, for the St. Clair County state’s attorney to successfully prosecute Krummrich for DUI. If Belleville Police Chief Bill Clay isn’t already investigating his officers’ handling of this case, he needs to get started.

That said, we are baffled by St. Clair County Associate Judge Brian Babka’s decision to let Krummrich keep his driver’s license. In Illinois accused DUI drivers who refuse chemical tests automatically lose their driving privileges for a year. But Babka ruled that there wasn’t sufficient reason for the police to ask him to take such a test in the first place.

Really? Krummrich was involved in an accident, he admitted he had been drinking and an on-duty police officer said Krummrich smelled of alcohol and his eyes were glassy. That seems like plenty of reason for the police to want to check to see whether he was over the legal limit.

Babka notes that Krummrich wasn’t swaying or slurring his speech, and that his policeman pal who was riding with him testified that Krummrich wasn’t driving impaired. A motorist doesn’t have to be falling down drunk to be impaired. The legal limit in Illinois is a relatively low .08.

As far as the pal’s testimony, he may be too close to the situation to be objective. What else would he say? That he let his friend drive even though he’d had one too many?

We expected Babka to back up the automatic suspension law. How disappointing that instead he found a loophole for Krummrich.