A Cass County police chief made a first appearance in court yesterday for a DUI arrest.
30 year old Wesley Helmich, the police chief of the city of Virginia, was arrested after crashing his Harley Davidson motorcycle up an embankment near the intersection of Virginia Road and Old Bethel Church Road the evening of August 19th. Helmich had one passenger, 25 year old Jenna Mae Leann Brooks of Peoria, on the motorcycle at the time of the accident.
As a result of the crash, Helmich was airlifted to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield to be treated for non-life threatening injuries and later released. Brooks was treated on-scene.
Yesterday in Cass County court, Eight Circuit Associate Judge Kevin D. Tippey granted a motion for appointment of a special prosecutor in the case. The current administrator of the state’s Special Prosecution Unit, Charles R. Zalar, was selected to represent the state’s case.
Helmich has chosen to enter a plea of not guilty and will be represented by John Sharp of Sharp and Harmon Law Office in Springfield. Sharp has a recent history of D.U.I defense. He represented the defense when the 1st District Illinois Appellate Court overturned a 40 year prison sentence of Ralph Eubanks earlier this year. Eubanks refused blood and urine samples after he was involved in a crash in 2009 that took the life of Maria Worthon. The samples were taken without a warrant anyway, and the appellate court determined this was unconstitutional.
Helmich has requested a trial by jury. He will be seen by Judge Tippey on November 27th at 9 a.m. for a status hearing. A pre-trial court appearance has been set for January 3rd at 1 p.m. On October 2nd, Memorial Medical Center willingly responded to a subpoena to give Helmich’s medical record to Judge Tippey, who then sealed and impounded them yesterday.