A mother and daughter from Galva, Illinois, face felony charges in Henry County Circuit Court after an accident on May 11 left a guardrail twisted out of place, blocking traffic on the southwest edge of Kewanee.
According to GC Online, Diana L. DeSmit, 47, and Samantha L. DeSmit, 18, told police Samantha was driving the Chevy truck when the accident happened. Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Femali testified in Monday’s preliminary hearing regarding possible felony charges and said the truck had been traveling westbound when it crossed off the south side of the road.
Officer Femali testified he believed the actual driver at the time of the accident was Jeffrey A.R. McBride, 20, of Wyoming.
A Kewanee police officer’s son and a friend were golfing at Kewanee Dunes on Midland Drive where the accident happened, Femali said. They asked a man wearing a reflective vest if he was all right and whether he needed a phone, and the man said no. The officer’s son and his friend said the man blew a tire trying to get the truck back on the road and started walking westbound by himself. Femali said they said they didn’t see anyone else.
One of the people from two cars that stopped to aide with traffic control due to the twisted guardrail said they also saw a man in a construction vest standing at a black SUV down the road. She didn’t know if the man was connected to the accident.
Dep. Femali said he asked the driver of the SUV that pulled up with Diana DeSmit and Samantha DeSmit, and both said Samantha had been driving. Samantha said she’d swerved to avoid hitting a raccoon.
The deputy said he spoke with Mr. McBride, who had a suspended license and was out of jail on bond. He said Mr. McBride had a strong odor of alcohol but passed a breathalyzer test.
Mr. McBride told authorities Samantha had been messing with the radio while she was driving when the accident happened, the deputy said. There was also a deep-heeled footprint by the truck’s driver door that looked like it could have been made by a cowboy boot, the deputy said. Mr. McBride was wearing dress shoes with a heel and Samantha DeSmit was in flipflops.
On June 6, both of the DeSmit’s were charged with obstruction of justice and both have Aug. 18 pre-trial hearings. Mr. McBride has a preliminary hearing on the same felony charges on July 11.
According to Mothers against Drunk Driving, there are thousands of wrongful deaths every year in the United States caused by people driving under the influence:
• About 3,200 people are arrested every day in the United States for driving under the influence.
• About a third of all drivers who are arrested for convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders.
• The rate of drunk driving is the highest among 26- to 29-year-olds.