Fatal DUI crash case: final two motions heard

By John A. Ballentine
[email protected]

Circuit Judge Thomas A. Keith heard and ruled Friday in Stark’s Circuit Court on the two final defense motions in Scott A. Petty’s fatal DUI crash case. Petty, 29, of Kewanee has been charged with felony aggravated DUI and felony possession of methamphetamine. Those charges stem from a November, 2015, fatal crash on Route 40 near the Route 17 junction.

Petty’s recently appointed court attorney public defender Patrick J. Murphy, of Marshall County, argued that Petty “was unconscious at the time a urine test for amphetamine was sought.” He also said that Petty’s “constitutional rights were violated” because of his unconscious state.

Stark County State’s Attorney James D. Owens countered by citing several case-laws, which describes “an implied consent to a urine draw” if any driver utilizes driving privileges and is involved in a DUI fatality, in Illinois.

Keith agreed and ruled that, “I’m going to uphold the urine draw based upon the applicable statutes about implied consent.” Keith denied the defense motion for suppression of the urine test, but granted the defense motion for an expert witness to analyze the testing procedure and results of Petty’s urine test.

Dr. Ronald Henson of Beron Consulting, in Peoria, will be retained for $2,000 and paid by Stark County for Henson’s services. This was unopposed by Owens. Keith explained that the test analysis “is warranted because of the seriousness of this case.”

Petty faces a minimum three year prison sentence and up to 14 years if convicted of the DUI charge. Petty has been alleged to have been under the influence of meth at the time his van crossed the roadway’s centerline. It crashed into a vehicle approaching northbound from the opposite direction at approximately 5:15 p.m. that November evening.

The small Sport Utility Vehicle was driven by Gina Masters, of Henry, Illinois, and the crash claimed her life. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

Keith informed both Murphy and Owens that the July 17 jury trial remains set and that “This case is getting pretty long in the tooth.”

This Friday, June 30, Murphy is expected to appear before Keith with Dr. Henson’s analysis report. Petty is not required to be present at that time.

Petty remains free from incarceration while on bond.

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