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Family of Illinois Pastor Killed In Crash Wants Case Reopened After Reports Show Other Driver Smelled Like Alcohol, Weed, But Was Only Charged with Speeding

An Illinois family who lost their patriarch in 2022 in a fatal car crash is calling for a probe to be opened into his death.

The elderly man’s daughter said the family has reviewed police records and has reason to believe officers failed to follow proper procedures to determine if the motorist was under the influence when he or she collided with her father’s car.

Pastor Neely Dotson Killed
Elder Neely Dotson, the founding pastor of the True Way Apostolic Faith Church, Christ Way Apostolic, and The StraightWay Apostolic Faith Church died in a car crash on May 23, 2022, Dotson in Chicago. (Photo: Taylor Funeral Home Obituary)

They are now pleading with officials to look at the facts and consider reopening the case. 

Neeketta Reed is speaking out on behalf of her family and seeking justice for her dad, the late Elder Neely Dotson, the founding pastor of the True Way Apostolic Faith Church, Christ Way Apostolic, and The StraightWay Apostolic Faith Church.

On Monday, May 23, 2022, Dotson, a resident of a suburb of Chicago, was killed after a visit with one of his daughters. He was driving his car when a Toyota struck him near Interstate 57 on Lincoln Highway. Police reports and eyewitnesses say the driver in the Toyota was driving more than 70 miles per hour in a stretch of road where the speed limit was 45 and hit the man of faith, Trendingwork reports.

According to the police report, the driver said he was “traveling eastbound in the curb lane of Route 30 approaching I–57.” The man, who is identified as Howard in the report, asserted he was driving between 45 and 50 mph, despite what the officers clocked him in at.  He then said Dotson “made an abrupt left turn in front of him from westbound Rt. 30 to the southbound I-57 ramp,” and though he “attempted to brake and swerve to avoid the accident he was unsuccessful in doing so.”

Now, Reed is asking the Matteson Police Department and prosecutors to reopen the case— scrutinizing how the arresting officers handled the accident.

In an interview with NBC Chicago, the daughter said the family has recently found out no one was ever arrested for the accident that took her 87-year-old father’s life. Despite police reports indicating the driver and his Toyota that crashed into her father’s car was “emanating” the smell of alcohol and marijuana, police did not require him to do any test to assess his sobriety, Reed said.

“How do you tell the policeman, ‘No, I’m not going to take a test?’ If you choose not to take a test, don’t you have to be arrested?” she asked.

The bereaved daughter further noted the other motorist refused to provide the doctors with either a blood or urine sample following the collision.

“I have never heard of anyone who has been able to not take a breathalyzer if a police officer smelled the alcohol. That is grounds for arrest right there. I am hurt, mad … all these feelings. I want the facts,” Reed said.

Illinois is an “Implied Consent Laws” state, which means “motorists have given implied consent to blood alcohol content (BAC) testing every time they get behind the wheel.”

The caveat, according to Illinois attorney Scott F. Anderson, is that one has to be arrested for a DUI before being asked to take a test, which was not the case here. The motorist was never charged with being intoxicated while driving.

Anderson writes on his website, “this means that until the officer arrests you on suspicion of a DUI, you are under no obligation to submit to a breathalyzer test. Regardless of what the police officer says, they cannot force you to take the test unless you have been arrested. Even then, no one can physically force you to take the test.”

While he was not arrested for the incident, he was charged with speeding eight months later, causing her to question justice in her father’s case.

How can (one) kill someone and get off with a speeding ticket?” she asked. “It just does not make sense.”

Reed said, “It is essentially a slap on the hand.”

Upon reviewing the case, the MPD said in a statement that the lead detective on the investigation contacted the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and asked them also to review the case to determine potential charges. 

Officials said in a statement, “After reviewing the case, the State’s Attorney’s Office indicated that the appropriate charge should be Aggravated Speeding; speed alone cannot be used to fulfill the requirements for the offense of Reckless Homicide.”

To complicate the matter even more, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office claims no one from the police department contacted them to review felony charges related to Dotson’s death, saying, “the police direct filed misdemeanor and traffic offenses that are pending in court at this time.”

Reed says she wants answers. Since the original counts did not consider the weightier charge of aggravated speeding, they should “look at the facts and, based on the facts, you do the right thing.”

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