Drunken driver who had loaded gun in car faces prison time

Updated 8/9/2018 5:31 PM
  • Tirus Scott

    Tirus Scott

A Dolton man is facing up to 14 years in prison after a DuPage County jury convicted him on a series of charges stemming from a November 2017 traffic stop near Burr Ridge.

Tirus Scott, 42, was found guilty of felony possession or use of a firearm by a felon, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving on a suspended license.

State Trooper Bryan Haste testified during the trial that he pulled up behind Scott's vehicle, which was stopped on the ramp connecting Route 83 to southbound I-55, at 1:33 a.m. on Nov. 18.

"The defendant was so intoxicated he simply decided to stop his car right there," Assistant State's Attorney Michael Fisher said during Thursday's closing arguments. "There's no other explanation for it."

Scott, who is paralyzed below his arms, was behind the wheel, covered in urine and smelling of alcohol.

Haste testified that Scott said he had to get his baby home. After a cursory search of the car's interior with his flashlight, Haste told Scott, who prosecutors said used a wooden stick to operate his car's gas and brake pedals, that there did not appear to be a baby in the car.

At that point, an exasperated Scott said he had to go back and get the baby.

Fisher said Thursday that Haste, after attempting to administer a field sobriety test and six attempts to get Scott to participate in a breath test to determine his level of intoxication, offered to drive Scott to a nearby Denny's restaurant or make a phone call to have someone pick him up.

"The trooper was cutting him a break," Fisher said. "He was giving the defendant a deal of a lifetime."

At some point in the process, Haste noticed the butt of a loaded and chambered handgun protruding from a pillowcase. Prosecutors said, Scott reached for the gun and touched it before Haste was able to put a safe distance between Scott and the weapon.

Scott's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Matthew Guerrero, argued that prosecutors had only proven that Scott had consumed alcohol but not that he was impaired. As for the gun, Guerrero said Scott maintains the gun is not his and did not know it was in the car.

Scott's paralysis, Guerrero said, likely kept Scott from even feeling the gun under the pillow he was sitting on.

Scott, who has been held on $100,000 bail, is expected to be sentenced on Sept. 14.

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