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Sterling man accused in fatal DUI seeks bond reduction, license reinstatement

MORRISON – A Sterling man charged with driving drunk, killing a pedestrian and injuring a police officer Jan. 23 on First Avenue Bridge is seeking to have his bond reduced and his license reinstated as his case makes its way through Whiteside County Court.

Wayne A. Witt Jr., 36, pleaded not guilty Monday to two counts of aggravated DUI resulting in injury or death, and to driving too fast for conditions, a traffic offense.

A DUI involving the death of one person carries up to 14 years in prison.

Witt is represented by Loves Park attorney Chris Humphrey, who filed a petition to rescind the statutory summary suspension of Witt’s driver’s license, stating that his client was not properly put under arrest for DUI because he was issued a traffic ticket; that the arresting officer didn’t have “reasonable grounds” to believe Witt was under the influence; that Witt did not refuse to submit to the chemical tests to determine if he was under the influence; and that “the test sample of the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration did not indicate a [BAC] of .08 or more.”

The petition to rescind does not indicate when the blood sample was taken.

In Illinois, a person’s driving privilege is automatically suspended or revoked if, when arrested on suspicion of DUI, that person refuses to submit to or fails to complete chemical testing.

Humphrey also filed a motion to either reduce Witt’s $250,000 bond, or have it changed to a recognizance bond, which means Witt would be freed without posting any money, but would be returned to jail and a cash bond if he violates any of the terms of his release.

As of Tuesday morning, State’s Attorney Terry Costello has not yet filed his responses.

Judge Stanley Steines will hear the requests Feb. 15. Witt’s first pretrial conference is March 30.

Because the crash involves one of its officers, Sterling Police requested the Sheriff’s Department investigate, as is standard procedure.

According to sheriff’s investigators, officer Travis Nease was parked in the southbound lane of the bridge south of Wallace Street, emergency lights activated, around 12:40 a.m.

Nease was standing by the rear of the car talking with pedestrian Drew W. Barger when Witt’s northbound pickup crossed the center line, striking Nease and the squad car, and trapping Barger under the truck.

The truck continued on, crashing into the viaduct center support.

Barger, 35, of Sterling, died at the scene. Nease was treated at CGH Medical Center and released.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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