The family of an Illinois pastor who was killed in a high-speed car crash questions why police and prosecutors charged the defendant with speeding and not reckless homicide.
Pastor Neely Dotson was killed in a crash on Lincoln Highway near Interstate 57 in May, and his family has learned that police in suburban Matteson and prosecutors are charging the defendant, who has not been identified, with excess speed, according to NBC 5.
“How can (one) kill someone and get a speeding ticket? It just doesn’t make sense,” said the pastor’s daughter, Neeketta Reed.
The Toyota that hit the pastor’s car was going over 70 miles per hour. The speed limit was 45.
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The network said the family has police reports showing the defendant smelled of alcohol and marijuana, and he refused to provide a blood and urine sample at the hospital.
“I have never heard of anyone being able to not take a breathalyzer if a police officer smelled alcohol,” Reed told the network. “That’s grounds for arrest right there. I’m hurt, angry… all these feelings. I want the facts.
Matteson police say they made the decision to charge the defendant with speeding after seeking the advice of the State’s Attorney’s Office.
“Speed alone cannot be used to meet the requirements for the offense of reckless homicide,” Matteson Police said in a statement to the network.
However, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office told NBC 5 that police did not request a review of the felony charges, saying, “Police directly filed misdemeanor and traffic offenses that are pending in the cut right now.”
Dotson was 87 years old when he died.
“Grandpa, we really miss you,” wrote one of the pastor’s grandchildren, Joy Foreman, at the time of the funeral. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. I will always love you. Thank you for everything you have done for us.”
In 1973, Dotson founded True Way Apostolic Faith Church, according to his obituary, which adds that he later founded Christ Way Apostolic and The Straight Way Apostolic Faith Church.