September 13, 2007
This morning's Northwest Herald carries on Page 3C an article about a driver whose car was rear-ended by a schoolbus last May. Not just rear-ended, but "violently" struck by the schoolbus, according to the driver's law suit. The May 24 crash reportedly injured the driver whose car was hit, the schoolbus driver, two grade school children on the bus, and another motorist into whose oncoming van the suing driver's Jeep was pushed.
The schoolbus driver was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. That charge certainly seems reasonable and appropriate to me.
But get this... The charge was amended in August to having no valid registration. Registration in the Illinois Vehicle Code refers to the licensing of the vehicle, not a driver's license in the driver's pocket. What happened to the moving violation?
What were the circumstances that led the unnamed judge to accept this plea-bargain? Obviously, a defense lawyer got involved, and the State decided not to waste its time prosecuting the serious charge; not that rear-ending someone appears to be that serious of a charge in McHenry County. This charge is used all the time (unless a deputy sheriff rear-ends a car). When I was writing tickets In Iowa (or was it in Colorado), we called it "failure to stop in the assured clear distance ahead."
The law enforcement agency whose officer wrote the original ticket isn't mentioned in the article. What is their opinion about the plea-bargain? The ticket was issued by the Spring Grove P.D., according to the original May 26 report in the Northwest Herald. Is the investigation of the accident being evaluated at the P.D. to determine how a defense attorney was able to persuade the State's Attorney to amend the charge?
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