Lakeesha Smith attorney hopes for deal with prosecutors


Mugshot of Lakeesha Smith, 33, of McKnight Street. Smith is being charged in the death of Tundun Lawani ’14. (Courtesy of the Knox County Jail)

The attorney for Lakeesha Smith, the alleged hit-and-run driver in the death of Tundun Lawani ’14, hopes to reach a plea agreement with the prosecution before the case goes to trial, the Galesburg Register-Mail reported.

According to the Register-Mail, Smith appeared in court Wednesday before Judge Scott Shipplett with her attorney Eric Bell, who said he plans to negotiate a plea agreement. If an agreement is made, Smith’s case would not go to trial.

Smith is being charged with reckless homicide, leaving the scene of an accident involving an injury or death and two counts of aggravated DUI.

The next pre-trial conference for Smith in scheduled for Aug. 5, and the trial could begin as early as Aug. 19 if an agreement is not reached between Smith’s attorney and the prosecutors in the State’s Attorney’s office.

Bell, a Chicago-based attorney, took the place of public defender James Harrell earlier this year. Bell specializes in defending those charged with crimes involving drunk driving.

Smith was arrested Oct. 28, 2012, after police used Knox surveillance footage to identify her blue 1997 Ford Taurus, prosecutors said. Smith told investigators she had been drinking between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. Her blood-alcohol level was .072 nearly four hours after the incident, according to police records.

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 in April 2012, 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.

Tags:  aggravated DUI Eric Bell hit-and-run Knox College Knox County Courthouse Lakeesha Smith reckless homicide Scott Shipplett Tundun Lawani

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Charlie Megenity
Charlie Megenity (formerly Gorney) is a senior double majoring in political science and economics. He previously served TKS as managing editor and as co-news editor while working as the weekend reporter for The Galesburg Register-Mail. Over the summer of 2012, Charlie interned in Wisconsin with, an online hyperlocal news source, where he covered the August 2012 Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting; he will return to Patch during the summer of 2013. He is also the journalism editor for Catch magazine.. Charlie has received three awards from the Illinois College Press Association for newswriting and design, including a first place award for front page layout. He was the 2013 recipient of the Theodore Hazen Kimble Memorial Award in Journalism for a feature story published in The Knox Student. His work has also appeared in The Huffington Post.

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