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Haligus Road Accident – Still No Tickets

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Haligus Road Accident – Still No Tickets

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
December 13, 2007

In a follow-up with the Sheriff’s Department today I learned that there still have been no tickets issued to the young female driver of the car in a wreck that killed two Marian Central students and injured the driver and one other passenger on October 26.

Sgt. Hubbard, the spokesperson for this accident, informed me that the Illinois State Police laboratory is running three months behind on toxicology reports. She said the case is still open and there would no information about tickets until the case is closed at the sheriff’s department. “Closed” means they have completed their investigation. At that time they will release further information, to include whether or not tickets are being issued.

In response to my question about why a ticket or tickets had not been already issued for the accident, Sgt. Hubbard used the phrase “double jeopardy.” I understood her to say that if they issued a ticket for the accident and later issued another ticket, that would constitute placing the driver in double jeopardy; in other words, charging her twice for the same offense.

I didn’t follow this line of reasoning. The driver allegedly lost control of her car, for whatever reason that hasn’t been reported (yet), and ran off onto the shoulder, which slants downward at a sharp angle, and then, apparently over-correcting, drove back up onto the roadway and into the path of a truck. In my mind a ticket for failing to maintain control of her vehicle could have been issued right away, or at least by Nov. 1 after she was released from the hospital.

If the sheriff’s department subsequently receives a report from the State Police laboratory that indicates to them that they should issue a ticket based on laboratory toxicology findings, then they can issue an additional ticket for that.

Where is the double jeopardy in this process?

Are all drivers in fatal or serious injury accidents treated in this manner?

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