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No tickets in WPD vs. UPS crash

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Emergency Services Vehicles McHenry County, Illinois

No tickets in WPD vs. UPS crash

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
December 4, 2009

On November 24th a Woodstock Police car hit a UPS van turning into a driveway on Route 47, just north of U.S. 14. The crash occurred about 10:45AM, and I happened to drive by before a supervisor from WPD or a deputy from the sheriff's department arrived to take the crash report. The roadway was wet, but it was not raining.

According to the crash report prepared by Deputy #1654 (names are now omitted from crash reports written by the McHenry County Sheriff's Department), Ofc. Richard Dolan was following the UPS truck too closely, when the UPS truck turned right the strip shopping center at 1662 South Eastwood.

Both vehicles were southbound on Eastwood (Route 47). The UPS driver reported that he turned on his right turn signal, but moved to the left partially to make what I'll call a "country" or wide right turn. Ofc. Dolan reported that he thought the UPS driver intended to turn left, because he had moved toward the middle (two-way, left-turn) lane. Dolan braked but slid on the wet pavement, striking the right rear of the UPS van.

According to the crash report, no citations were issued. The UPS van driver was not cited; Ofc. Dolan was not cited.

I'm always curious when a police officer is involved in a crash and is the at-fault driver, when no ticket is issued. This happens more frequently than the public knows, because the traditional media do not report it fully.

Several years ago a serious crash occurred, involving a Woodstock Police car running hot through a red light by Wendy's. It was investigated by a McHenry County deputy sheriff, and no ticket was issued to the officer. When the citizen who was hit was later asked whether the officer was ticketed, his answer was, "Oh, can cops get tickets?"

It took him three years to collect the damages from the City of Woodstock, but he finally got his money; and then he was kind enough to call me and thank me for helping him.

In July 2008 a deputy pulled off a highway shoulder on U.S. 12 to make a U-turn and drive a prisoner to the McHenry County Jail. Unfortunately, he didn't wait for passing traffic to clear, and he struck the right side of a vehicle that was passing by. Not only did he not get a ticket for causing the crash, the crash report got manipulated at the sheriff's department, and the woman driver going by was put in the Unit 1 (the at-fault) position. There was $5,600 damage to the woman's car, and the Sheriff's Department or the County refused to pay her, because she was put on the report as Unit 1.

That crash should have been investigated by an independent agency, such as the State Police or a nearby municipal PD officer. It wasn't; the at-fault deputy's supervisor handled the crash report. Initially, the report indicated the deputy was at fault and he was placed as Unit 1. He complained loudly, and the sergeant re-wrote the report, placing the woman citizen as Unit 1; i.e., the at-fault driver.

Numerous deputies realized the deputy had caused the accident and were upset at the falsified crash report. But the sheriff refused to have it corrected, and the woman never got paid for the damages to her vehicle.

If a citizen causes a crash, he or she gets a ticket.

If a cop causes a crash, he should get a ticket.

By the way, McHenry County Sheriff's Department Deputy #1654 is Laura Larson.

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