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Another FOIA Request Denied - 150MPH Speeder

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Another FOIA Request Denied - 150MPH Speeder

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
June 21, 2007

On May 28 I wrote to the Illinois State Police FOIA officer to request information about the 150MPH speeder on Kishwaukee Valley Road back in January. I knew she had received the request, because she called me for the driver's name. I told her to call the commander of the State Police office in Elgin, out of which the ticket was written. Finally the response came.

I'm still laughing... and planning the Appeal.

Here's what I asked for... date, time and location of violation. speed and how measured. direction of travel. make and model of car. citation number. court date. court location, if not McHenry County. copy of citation and police report.

What was the response?

"Some documents requested are enclosed."

What was enclosed? A statement that the information, if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, unless the driver consented. And that it would consitute an invasion of personal privacy.

There was more. A line of computer codes. At least now I know it happened on Jan. 17 at 2:20PM in Marengo Township in McHenry County. The speed was 145MPH.

What a pile of rubbish! The driver must have a court date that either passed or is coming up because of continuances. How can the public know that justice was served, when the Illinois State Police, funded by taxpayer dollars, withholds general information? You'll notice that I did not ask for the driver's name, home address, or any other personal identifiers.

I want to know when to go to court and watch him weasel out of this ticket. I want to see which high-powered McHenry County attorney represents him and what legal maneuvers are used to get the ticket thrown out. I want to see what judge stands up and protects the public.

Col. Michael R. Snyders and Deputy Director Charles Brueggeemann participated in the decision to deny this FOIA Request. Maybe I'll have to file a FOIA request to learn how many FOIA requests they received in the past 12 months and how many were approved.

Unfortunately, the powers-that-be know they can jerk around the public and try to hide behind FOIA exclusions, unless pushed into Circuit Court, where they would have to explain that they really had no reason to deny a request in the first place.

What kind of "clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" could occur if the public learned when a driver of a car at 145MPH is supposed to be in court? I have some rights to be safe on the highway. Had I been in front of him, poking along at the 55MPH speed limit, I'd be dead from a rear-end crash when he hit me at a closing rate of 90MPH.

The appeal will be filed with Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent next week. Care to guess what his decision will be? Let's see; what are the hours at the Circuit Court???

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