Illinois State Police News File

The Following Preliminary Information is Being Released by Illinois State Police District 09

WHAT:                   Two Vehicle Fatal Traffic Crash

WHERE:                Illinois Route 48, near E 1550 N, Taylorville Township, Christian County

WHEN:                   April 8, 2021 at 11:04 p.m.

VEHICLES:             Unit 1 – Silver 2018 Jeep Wrangler

         Unit 2 – Red 2009 Ford Focus

DRIVERS:                Unit 1 – Robert M. Hodson, a 46-year-old male from Taylorville, IL – Transported by ambulance to an area hospital with serious injuries.  

                         Unit 2 – Haley A. Shoot, a 19-year-old female from Taylorville, IL – Pronounced deceased on scene.

PASSENGERS:         Unit 2 – Jade A. Thomas, a 19-year-old female from Lafayette, IN – Transported by ambulance to an area hospital with life-threatening-injuries.

                         Unit 2 – Zaydin J. Dudra, 20-year-old male from Taylorville, IL – Pronounced deceased on scene.

PRELIMINARY:   Preliminary investigative details indicate the following occurred:  Unit 1 was traveling northbound on Illinois Route 48, near E 1550 North Road. Unit 2 was traveling southbound at the same location. Unit 1 crossed into the left lane to pass another vehicle and struck Unit 2 head-on.

The driver and rear passenger of Unit 2 were pronounced deceased on scene. The front seat passenger of Unit 2 was transported by ambulance to an area hospital with life-threatening-injuries. The driver of Unit 1 was transported by ambulance to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The ISP Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit (TCRU) is continuing the investigation.  No further information will be disseminated at this time.

CHARGES:  On Friday, April 9, 2021, at approximately 1:00 PM, Illinois State Police (ISP) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Zone 4 and ISP District 9 arrested Robert Hodson after being discharged from a local hospital.  Hodson was charged with 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(1)(F) Aggravated Driving Under the Influence Involving Death (Class 2 Felony).  The penalty for this offense carries a term of imprisonment not less than six years and not more than 28 years since it involved the death of more than one person.  Hodson was transported and lodged in the Christian County Jail in Taylorville, Illinois.  Bond was set at $200,000. This investigation is active and ongoing, and no additional information will be released at this time.

All subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Illinois State Police


by Bernard P. Lawson, The Chicago Times

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2021 – President Biden will decree another executive order Friday to form a commission to pack the Supreme Court with up to 9 more Justices and forever balance the highest court in favor of the far-left.  This will forever end the system of checks and balances that has safe guarded democracy for generations.

A 36-member commission will be bipartisan on the surface and hold public meetings to recommend “reforms” to the court.  The “Court Packing” committee will have 180 days from their first meeting to finish a report that will most likely be in favor of slanting the Supreme Court towards the far-left.

Also, in Biden’s grab bag of changes includes the elimination of lifetime appointments for the justices.  Clearly Biden intends to subvert the court and make it dependent on political appointment and favoritism.

Biden’s White House lackeys stated the “commission” will “evaluate” the term length and turnover of justices on the Supreme Court.  Also, under the spotlight will be membership qualifications (most likely to conform to far-left standards), case selection, rules, and practices.  Whatever happened to the principle of co-equal branches of government?  Where is Justice Roberts?  Will he stand up to this assault on the branch of government he runs?

Biden blessed the appointment of two far-left liberal activists and former Obama officials to chair the committee: former White House Counsel Bob Bauer and Cristina Rodriguez, former Justice Department official and Justice O’Conner clerk.  So much for bipartisanship.  Surely opposing views on the committee will be silenced or cancelled by far-left bullies.

Biden, lacking memory recall, failed to remember his views in 1983 that packing the court was a “bonehead” idea and that he, running for president at the time, was “. . . not a fan of court packing.”

The formation of the committee stems from liberal tantrums over Trump’s appointment of a third justice to the high court.  Apparently far-left liberals just can’t stand it when the rules are not in their favor and must now “fix” the system to get their way.

Bernard Lawson, National Political Reporter/Columnist for The Chicago Times.  Views and comments expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the official position of The Chicago Times.


AP News File

The most surprising thing about “ Voyagers,” a sci-fi thriller about a group of young adults who have been tasked with travelling to and repopulating a new planet, is that it isn’t based on a Young Adult book series. Writer and director Neil Burger, who was also behind the “Divergent” films apparently decided to cut out the Intellectual Property middleman and make his own YA statement. That said, it does borrow heavily from quite a few other sources, with shades of “Lord of the Flies,” “The Giver,” “Ender’s Game,” “Euphoria” and any number of space madness films.


City of Naperville

NAPERVILLE, April 7, 2021 – April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month across the nation, and the Naperville Police Department is urging drivers to drop their phones and focus on the road with a not-so-subtle reminder: “Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a total of 26,004 people died in U.S. crashes involving a distracted driver between 2012 and 2019.

In support of this effort, the Naperville Police Department is partnering with the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police and more than 200 local law enforcement agencies around Illinois to enhance enforcement of distracted driving laws during the entire month of April.

“It has become all too common to see people driving down the road while looking at their phones,” said Naperville Police Sergeant Ricky Krakow. “People know texting and driving is both dangerous and illegal, but they do it anyway, putting themselves and others at risk. During April, you will see increased law enforcement efforts as officers stop and ticket anyone who violates distracted driving and other Illinois motor vehicle laws.”

This distracted driving campaign is administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation with federal traffic safety funds.

City of Naperville

CITY EMPLOYEE SENTENCED FOR PUBLIC CORRUPTION: Philadelphia Employee Accepted Bribes While Working Government Job

FBI News File

PHILADELPHIA, April 7, 2021 – Jeffrey Blackwell’s job in the Philadelphia controller’s office was to root out corruption and mismanagement.

Instead, Blackwell was taking bribes himself—telling people he could get them city permits or contracts in exchange for cash.

The FBI learned in 2013 that several people with business before the city were paying cash bribes to Blackwell. Blackwell promised those who paid him—people seeking permits to do things like place a dumpster or sell cars—that he could cut through the red tape and help them.

“The exact thing he was getting paid to prevent by the taxpayers of Philadelphia, he was doing himself,” said Special Agent Brian Coughlin, who investigated this case out of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office.

But in 2015, one of Blackwell’s bribery “customers” was actually an FBI confidential source. The source captured Blackwell on tape promising a city permit for a dumpster in exchange for $3,000. The source gave Blackwell $1,700 upfront. He followed up with texts to the source demanding the remaining money—which provided additional evidence in the case.

He never actually provided any service to those who paid him, but simply the offer of a benefit in exchange for a bribe is a crime, Coughlin explained.

“Blackwell took people’s money with the promise of doing things and didn’t do them,” Coughlin said.

    “I grew up in this city, and it’s very frustrating to see officials use their position for personal gain.”

    Brian Coughlin, special agent, FBI Philadelphia

Blackwell’s acceptance of the bribes was so brazen that when a car dealership owner paid him a bribe by check, he cashed the check while wearing his City of Philadelphia uniform shirt. The transaction was captured on security footage that was provided to agents.

Blackwell pleaded guilty to public corruption and tax fraud charges in August 2020. He was sentenced to 22 months in prison in December 2020.

Even though he only collected about $20,000, bribery is illegal and erodes the public’s trust in its government. That’s why public corruption is one of the FBI’s top priorities for criminal cases.

“I grew up in this city, and it’s very frustrating to see officials use their position for personal gain,” Coughlin said. “We’re sending a signal that we will investigate anyone using a public resource for personal benefit.”

United States Department of Justice