Ex-Cop Lisa Staples Back in Court on Second DUI

On Monday, March 14, 2011, former Champaign police detective Lisa Staples returned to court for a second DUI. She nearly killed two 17-year-old girls on December 19, 2010 when she struck their car at high speeds. According to four additional 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. 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.

As a police officer, Staples had the responsibility of upholding the laws. Now she apparently does not think she should be subject to those same laws.

What is the point of all the coverage of this?

I fail to see why this is important news to our community. Aren't there more newsworthy things going on? This woman is, thankfully, no longer on the police force. Obviously she is a troubled person. The fact that you are still focusing so much attention on her story just seems petty and personal at this point.

Asking the Wrong Question

I have to agree it is rather tawdry.


Intereszingly, tawdry coverage in crime reproting is the basis of much of the reporting in the News-Gazette...

Except when it comes to police. Then, official statements matter more than raw facts, tawdry details are MIA, and most of what you read above will likely never see print in the News-Gazette.

Maybe if the News-Gazette treated the police and courts like they treat the rest of us, then there would be no need for alternative reporting?


Probably not, but perhaps the News-Gazette's demonization of certain parts of society, while giving a free pass to others, could be part of the reason why you're objecting to what's written here, rather than objecting to what is not written there. You believe that the media should bolster the case for authority, even when it's clear that it has feet of clay itself?

Agree completely. Petty is a

Agree completely. Petty is a good word for it. Unfortunately, there are plenty of DUI accidents that result in injuries and damage. Taking the measures of doing this much homework on this incident seems strange and obsessive. 

The point is police secrecy at public expense

Critics of Brian Dolinar compare his reports to the tawdry exploitation that occurs in corporate press.

This is far from the case. Although there's widespread fascination with police activity of any kind,

especially when police misbehave, this is not the focus of Dolinar's work.

If he had failed to supply concrete details for the story above,

his critics would be all over him for lack of due diligence.


Now they criticize him for providing the details.


The problem I see is that you have a State’s Attorney who has allowed

lawlessness to prevail under cover of secrecy at public expense.


"A decision by State’s Attorney Julia Rietz in January 2007 made police reports unavailable to the public"

e pluribus unum


Schenk on 4 felonies

Schenk reports four additional felony charges filed, but fails to follow up on details of the initial accident. BD


Ex-police officer charged with felonies

URBANA — A former Champaign police officer already charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence has had additional felony charges lodged against her for allegedly lying to the Secretary of State.

Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Ziegler said he filed four felony counts of knowingly making a false application or affidavit against Lisa Staples, 41, whose last known address was on Frank Drive in Champaign.

The former police detective is accused of writing on sworn applications for a driver’s license and an Illinois identification card that her address was 82 E. University Ave., C, which is the Champaign police department. She is also alleged to have answered "no" to the question of whether her current driver’s license was being held by a court in lieu of bail.

Staples allegedly filled out the forms on Dec. 21, 2010, two days after she was arrested by a Champaign County sheriff’s deputy for driving under the influence of alcohol on Illinois 10.

About 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 19, Staples was involved in a crash in which her car hit the rear end of a small sport utility vehicle driven west by a Mahomet teen. The teen and her passenger were not seriously injured but a gas line was damaged in the wreck.

At the time of the collision, Staples was on court supervision for misdemeanor DUI, having pleaded guilty to driving the wrong way on Interstate 72 west of Mahomet on Nov. 30, 2008, at a time when she was drunk.

Failing To See

"I fail to see why this is important news to our community."

We should remember that because of the extraordinary leniency that was given to Staples the first time around, the public has no assurance that this "troubled person" will actually be dealt with by local law enforcement the second time around. Every effort was made to sweep Staples' case out of sight and prosecutors agreed with defense attorney Ed Piraino that Staples needed to be exempt from her losing her driver's license because she's a police officer. If it hadn't been for publicity and public outrage, Staples would still be a police officer. Thanks to reporting like this, any more legal shenanigans by the state's attorney's office will be less likely to happen or at least exposed for what they are. Even so, the prediction should be Staples' status as a former police officer will prevent her from doing a day of jail time despite the aggravating circumstances. What regular citizen would get such a deal flaunting the law to the extent she has?


Why did Sheriff Dan Walsh and

Why did Sheriff Dan Walsh and The News-Gazette fail to report the seriousness of the car crash, or Staples' speed at the time of the collision? It seems like they were trying to minimize Staples' offense. Why?


Speaking of why, why does Dolinar's article say that the wreck "nearly killed two 17-year-old girls" when the girls didn't even go to the hospital. A little dramatic isn't it? I would expect at least a hospital visit if they were nearly killed.


The girls are both still injured. One had to be woken up every night for a month because she has such a bad concussion. The driver is still in physical therapy for her injuries. It's been a year and their lives are still messed up because of Lisa's actions that night. The Jeep rolled over 6 times was totaled and hit a gas line. Here are pictures of the jeep if you want to see for yourself. http://stoplisa.blogspot.com/


"...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."

I'd say that qualifies for "nearly killed" status even if the subsequent injuries didn't warrant a trip to the hospital. Maybe Dolinar should have wrote "could have killed."

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