The accused driver in the hit-and-run incident that killed Tundun Lawani ’14 last month entered a not guilty plea Wednesday, and the trial may begin as early as February, according to WGIL radio.
Lakeesha Smith, 33, of Galesburg, pleaded not guilty Wednesday during her arraignment before Knox County Circuit Court Judge Scott Shipplett. Smith was arrested following the October 28 incident and is being charged with reckless homicide, aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of an accident involving an injury or death.
According to WGIL, a “pre-trial conference” is scheduled for Feb. 4, and the trial may begin two weeks after that. Shipplett also denied a request to reduce bond for Smith to $25,000, citing her prior felony convictions.
Smith had no prior record of DUI, but was cited twice in 2006 for driving with a revoked license, according to Illinois Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker.
In Galesburg, Smith was arrested for aggravated battery in 2003 and disorderly conduct this past April, according to police records. At the time of the incident, she was on probation for a retail theft in Peoria County in 2010. She was also convicted of check fraud in Peoria County in 2005.
If convicted, Smith may face over 30 years in prison and additional fines.
The Knox Student will resume full coverage of the trial and efforts to improve pedestrian safety during winter term.