Original article no longer available
The State Journal Register
By CHRIS DETTRO, STAFF WRITER
Sept 30, 2004
Buus ran into police squad car
A Sangamon County jury Wednesday rejected an attempted murder charge against a 43-year-old Raymond man who crashed his vehicle into a Thayer policeman’s squad car, instead convicting David L. Buus of aggravated battery, criminal damage to property and a lesser reckless conduct charge.
Circuit Judge Leo Zappa will sentence Buus Nov. 19 on three felony counts, the most serious of which is a Class 3 felony punishable by as much as to two to five years in prison. Reckless conduct is a Class A misdemeanor.
Attempted first-degree murder is a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison.
The eight-man, four-woman jury took about three hours to reach a verdict after a day and a half of testimony.
Buus was on trial for crashing his Chevrolet Blazer into a squad car driven by Thayer police officer Michael Broaddus about 7:55 p.m. Dec. 30 at the intersection of Roosevelt and Main streets in Thayer.
Broaddus was responding to a domestic-disturbance call involving Buus when the officer got to the intersection and saw an SUV southbound on Roosevelt.
Buus allegedly accelerated and rammed Broaddus’ squad car just behind the driver’s side door. Broaddus, who had the right of way and had his lights flashing, testified he realized that Buus wasn’t going to stop at the stop sign and accelerated himself, trying to get out of the way.
Several officers testified Tuesday that Buus was “yelling and screaming” and “very angry” following the crash. When asked how fast he was going, they heard Buus say he “had it all the way to the floor, as fast as it could go.”
An Auburn police officer who was first on the scene testified that Buus screamed that he wanted to kill himself and “wanted to take that cop with me” shortly after the crash.
Buus, the only defense witness, said Wednesday under questioning by Sangamon County public defender Brian Otwell that he didn’t remember saying those things and that he had tried to swerve and avoid a collision with the squad car. He said he was trying to avoid being stopped by police and make it to the back roads around Thayer.
He also said he couldn’t remember leaving a message for his wife on an answering machine Dec. 29 saying he wanted to kill himself.
Buus lost his left arm in 1985 as a result of a motorcycle accident and said he was taking pain medication and anti-depressants the evening of the crash.
Broaddus was treated at Memorial Medical Center and released the same evening.
Assistant state’s attorneys Jeff Hoecker and Jay Magnuson prosecuted the case.
Chris Dettro can be reached at 788-1510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.