Deputy says he ticketed O'Malley like any distracted driver

By The Madison County Record | Jul 29, 2014

St. Clair County deputy sheriff Adam Quirin said he ticketed Katherine O’Malley as a distracted driver after her car struck professional basketball player Kevin Lisch.

“She didn’t hit him intentionally,” Quirin said in an interview on July 28.

He charged her with failure to reduce speed on July 5, after her car hit Lisch while he walked on Country Club Place with his mother, Catherine Lisch, and his infant son Benjamin.

Quirin said he charged O’Malley as he would any distracted driver, like one who runs into a collision while talking on a cell phone.

According to his report, O’Malley said she was looking at a house that had some construction done to it recently.

Quirin said he checked her story with a neighbor who told him the owner across the street had finished improving the house and landscape.

The accident attracted attention because police have issued dozens of tickets to O’Malley, daughter of former judge Michael O’Malley and friend of convicted drug dealer Sean McGilvery.

St. Clair County judges dismissed most of the tickets.

“What she had in the past, I can’t comment on that,” Quirin said.

He said a dispatcher notified him of the accident while he was at Memorial Hospital. An ambulance then followed him from the hospital to Country Club Place.

Quirin said he saw Lisch sitting at the curb with a towel on his head, and a car with a broken windshield in the driveway of a vacant home.

He said he asked O’Malley if she had been drinking, and she said no.

“I got her real close and talked to her, and there was no reason to think she was,” he said.

“If there was a reason, I would have. I’ve written a few here and there.”

Quirin said witnesses confirmed her statements.

He didn’t interview Lisch at the scene.

“He was shaken up so I was going to have to go to the hospital to interview him anyway,” he said.

He said the grandmother had taken the baby home before he arrived.

Quirin's report on the accident didn’t mention the baby because, “The baby was not involved in that crash,” he said.

He said that at the hospital, Lisch said, “I’m going to feel like I’ve been hit by a car tomorrow, right?”

Lisch, 28, recently signed a contract to play this coming season in Spain.

His mother and his father, former National Football League quarterback Rusty Lisch, said they would not comment on the accident on advice of legal counsel.

Since 1996, O’Malley has received 49 traffic citations, as well as faced one misdemeanor theft charge and two drug charges.

On March 2, 2006, on a motion from prosecutors, associate judge Heinz Rudolf fined her $80 for speeding but dismissed charges that she drove with neither insurance nor registration.

Five days later on March 7, 2006, assistant state’s attorney Beth Nester charged O’Malley with possession of less than 15 grams of heroin.

On Aug. 24, 2006, associate judge Mark Clarke found her “acceptable” for an inpatient drug treatment program located out of state.

O’Malley pleaded guilty on Dec. 26, 2006, and Clarke placed her on probation for two years.

In six months, prosecutors petitioned to revoke her probation, alleging she failed to pay a fine and costs of $1,087, failed to report to her probation officer in Florida, and failed to perform 30 hours of community service.

Circuit judge John Baricevic ordered further treatment and extended probation for two years.

In those two years, officers charged her with driving 26 to 30 miles an hour above the limit, operating without insurance, driving 15 to 20 miles per hour above the limit and disregarding a traffic control device.

Associate judge Zina Cruse fined her $75 on the less serious speeding ticket, but associate judge Vincent Lopinot later vacated the fine pursuant to plea negotiations.

On the more serious speeding ticket, the court file shows a judge’s order without signature, dismissing the ticket as a result of plea negotiations.

Another order without signature dismissed her ticket for disregarding a control device.

O’Malley completed probation on the heroin charge in 2009, and started collecting more tickets than ever.

She picked up four in 2010, two for speeding and two for lack of registration.

Cruse fined her $100 for speeding 26 to 30 miles above the limit. She dismissed a charge of driving without registration, finding O’Malley produced proof of registration.

O’Malley collected 13 tickets in 2011, including five for speeding, three for lacking insurance, and two for driving on a suspended license.

State’s attorney Brendan Kelly also charged her with misdemeanor theft.

In two orders three months apart, Lopinot fined O’Malley $200 and $400 on speeding tickets while dismissing three other tickets.

On Dec. 5, 2011, Kelly filed felony charges alleging O’Malley and friend Sean McGilvery distributed heroin, but the charge against O’Malley was dismissed and expunged.

McGilvery would later plead guilty of a similar charge in federal court. He serves a 10 year sentence.

O’Malley defeated eight tickets in a day in 2012. Associate judge Julie Katz dismissed them after imposing $200 fines for theft and a seat belt violation.

Later that year, six weeks after Fairview Heights police charged that O’Malley drove without a license, Katz dismissed the ticket when O’Malley produced a license.

Last year, associate judge Christopher Kolker fined O’Malley $150 for speeding 11 to 14 miles an hour above the limit, after dismissing a ticket for speeding 15 to 20 above the limit.

In December, associate judge Brian Babka fined her $200 for speeding 15 to 20 above the limit, after dismissing tickets for speeding 21 to 25 above the limit and following too closely.

Centreville police arrested her this April and charged she drove 11 to 14 above the limit.

She missed a court date in May, and associate judge Laninya Cason fined her $120.

O’Malley missed a June 20 hearing on payment of the fine, and Cason referred the fine and a $127 supervision fee to external collections.

On July 3, a county deputy wrote O’Malley a ticket for having a passenger without a seat belt.

O’Malley drove into Lisch two days later.

She is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 6 for the citation involving the un-belted passenger and on Aug. 13 for the citation involving Lisch.

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