Man found guilty of driving with revoked license for 15th time

Man found guilty of driving with revoked license for 15th time

URBANA — A Rantoul man with a long history of ignoring traffic laws is headed to prison for up to 30 years after recently being convicted for the 15th time of driving while his license was revoked.

A Champaign County jury apparently agreed with the state that Edward Duckworth, 34, who listed an address in the 1500 block of Hobson Drive, and not his girlfriend, was the driver of a car that police found stopped near a north Rantoul intersection on Oct. 15, 2017.

Because of his prior criminal record, which includes two Class 2 felony drug-related convictions, Duckworth faces sentencing as a Class X felon to between six and 30 years.

Court records show Duckworth has been to prison six times and has served multiple county jail sentences, many of them for driving under revocation.

Judge Brett Olmstead set sentencing for April 16.

Assistant State's Attorney Dan Reynolds said testimony revealed that Rantoul police were sent to an alleged domestic dispute between Duckworth and his girlfriend that fall day.

As they headed to the apartment complex, the officers saw a car stopped in the road on Maplewood Drive, near the intersection with Falcon Drive.

The officers testified that Duckworth was in the driver's seat and was getting out of that side of the car while yelling at his girlfriend, who was getting out of the passenger side yelling back.

The officers testified that Duckworth told them he was driving to get away from the home and that his girlfriend got in the passenger seat as he was leaving. During the ride, she spotted the police and took the keys from the ignition.

Asked to show officers a license, Duckworth said he didn't have one. That's when officers discovered his license was revoked.

In Duckworth's defense, presented by Champaign attorney Steve Sarm, the girlfriend claimed she was actually driving the car that day and lied to police about him driving so he would go to jail.

In addition to Duckworth's 14 prior driving under revocation convictions, court records show he had also been convicted of driving under the influence, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and criminal trespass to residence dating to 2002.

Duckworth remains free on bond pending sentencing.

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