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Police Sued For Failing To Arrest Driver

Hindsight is 20/20 and the discovery process may shine more light on whether Kane County police had enough evidence to arrest 45-year-old Linda L. Knotts on DUI charges. People get away with driving under the influence all the time, but usually they pull into the driveway without incident and count their lucky stars for not getting arrested. 

But Knotts collided head-on with a Ford van driven by Marengo-based William McKenzie, killing him almost instantly, just 15 minutes after she was stopped and ticketed for reckless driving.

Police received several calls from concerned citizens on March 20 after seeing her driving erratically and passing southbound vehicles on the northbound shoulder of Route 47 in Sugar Grove Township. Anonymous tips are not in and of themselves reasonable cause for a stop, punctuated by a recent US Supreme Court snub (Chicago DUI Blog), but police checked it out and did witness her alleged "freestyle" driving.

For whatever reason, though, police did not see any reason to take her into custody. Knotts was cited for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident and driving in the wrong lane, charges that later were dismissed (pending further investigation).

So what was she on, if anything?

McKenzie's death was ruled a homicide and blamed on Knotts, but no mention of Knotts driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Investigator Sal Rodriguez, testifying last May, said he received numerous reports of her reckless driving but did not get a straight answer from Knotts:

"I have interviewed Linda Knotts three times. Each and every time, it was a different account of what occurred just before the accident. I don't believe she ever gave a specific reason for why this occurred."

Since she hasn't been charged with impaired driving, she currently has no use for an Illinois DUI lawyer. But the wrongful death lawsuit, which names Knotts and Kane County as defendants, may change all of that.