Metro-East News

State troopers arrest trucker for DUI on safety check day

The driver of a tractor-trailer who was under the influence of alcohol managed to drive from Springfield to Troy before Illinois State Police stopped him Wednesday afternoon, according to Illinois State Police Trooper Calvin Dye Jr.

Johnny Conley, a truck driver from Oklahoma, was swerving into both southbound lanes, according to sworn law-enforcement statements. Conley was charged with two counts of driving under the influence and received five tickets.

“Conley had red, bloodshot and glassy eyes,” smelled of alcohol, and had an open container in the cab of his truck, according to sworn law enforcement reports.

Conley’s blood alcohol content was 0.149 percent, according to the charges, almost twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Illinois State Police pulled over Conley during a 24-hour tractor trailer safety check in memory of Trooper James Sauter, who was struck and killed in his squad car near Chicago by a driver who had fallen asleep. The safety checks were deemed “Operations Sauter 2017.”

Conley’s truck was traveling at roughly 70 mph, Dye said. Calls to 911 began flooding in from Springfield around 2:30 p.m. and continued until a trooper was finally able to pull Conley over near Troy.

“He could have caused another cop or trooper in the line of duty to be hit and killed because of him being irresponsible behind the wheel,” Dye said. “Thank God the trooper was able to pull him over before he killed himself or somebody else.”

An open bottle of whiskey was found in the semitrailer cab, Dye said. Conley was booked into the Madison County Jail.

Truck drivers with a Class A license can potentially be disqualified from driving a tractor trailer for the rest of their lives, Trooper said.

Kelsey Landis: 618-239-2110, @kelseylandis; Casey Bischel: 618-239-2655, @CaseyBischel