On Monday, March 14, 2011, former Champaign police detective Lisa Staples returned to court for a second DUI. The charges stemmed from an incident on December 19, 2010, when Staples struck a car, carrying two 17-year-old girls, at high speed. According to four additional felony charges filed in court, Staples also lied when applying for a new driver's license and Illinois state ID card just two days after her license was taken away.
In the initial report by Mary Schenk in the News-Gazette, Sheriff Dan Walsh was interviewed. Giving a minimum of the details, Walsh said that Staples had apparently rear-ended a small SUV on a country road near Bondville. Walsh provided irrelevant information about an Ameren gas line that was damaged. What Walsh did not say, and Schenk failed to follow up on, was that there was much more damage done that night.
A decision by State's Attorney Julia Rietz in January 2007 made police reports unavailable to the public. For further information, I had to locate Kathryn Rose, the mother of Kelsey Rose, the 17-year-old girl who was driving the Jeep that was smashed by Staples. Kathryn told me that, according to a Sheriff's deputy, Staples was driving 80-90 miles per hour when her BMW struck the car driven by her daughter. The Jeep flipped four times after going off the road and breaking the Ameren gas line. As a mother, Kathryn was simply relieved that her daughter and friend lived through the experience.
Kelsey and her friend who was in the passenger seat, Margarita Solache, refused medical treatment after the accident. According to Kathryn, they wanted to avoid the trauma of going to the emergency room. Yet both of the girls are currently undergoing physical therapy. The only reason the two girls survived was because they were wearing seat belts. The car they were driving was totaled. The mangled vehicle can be seen in photos posted online (above). Asked whether her family planned to file a civil suit against Staples, Kathryn said they had not yet decided.
Kathryn said that a deputy told her Staples was fighting with police when they arrived and denied she was involved in the accident. She had claimed she was a bystander there to offer help. Staples refused a breathalyzer and was immediately arrested. She posted a $100 bond and three hours later was out of jail.
Four new felony counts filed by Assistant State's Attorney Scott Larson claim that on December 21 Staples made a false affidavit when she applied for a driver's license and state ID. On both the forms she had failed to reveal that her license was currently in the possession of the circuit court of Champaign County. She also listed as her address 82 E. University Ave., the address of her former employer, the Champaign Police Department.
The last time Staples was charged with a DUI, she received favorable treatment in the courts. Due to public outrage, she was forced to resign from the Champaign Police Department. To read about Staples' first DUI go here. What will become of her after this latest episode remains to be seen.