‘No indication’ police officer violated any laws in fatal crash with teen on bike, state’s attorney review concludes

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Moline Police at the scene of an accident on 34th Street near 12th Avenue on May 4, 2021. (Demetrios Sanders, OurQuadCities.com)

A police officer who hit and killed a teen on a bike while responding to a emergency call in May will not be charged, Rock Island County State’s Attorney Dora A. Villarreal announced Tuesday.

Officer Katherine Pennacchio hit 13-year-old Charles Hubbard near 34th Street and 12th Avenue in Moline.

“In this case, there is no indication that Officer Pennacchio violated any laws as she was operating an authorized emergency response vehicle,” Villareal wrote. “She was responding to a 911 call regarding a suspect involved in recent violent activity. Officers have the right under Illinois law to respond to dangerous incidents without use of their lights or sirens and driving above the posted speed limit.”

The review said Pennacchio was traveling between 54-55 mph when the collision occurred and her lights and sirens were not activated. The posted speed limit on 34th Street in Moline is 40 mph.

However, the review cited Illinois traffic law 625 ILCS 5/11 205, which “specifically left the use of lights and sirens on police officer vehicles up to each individual agency” and allows officers to “exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he [sic] does not endanger life or property.”

Villareal concluded that “Pennacchio did not commit any criminal or traffic violations on the May 4, 2021 collision with C.H. This incident is one of tragic and unfortunate circumstance.”

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