It has been a week and a half since NBC 5 Investigates revealed the lengthy traffic and criminal history of Dan Davies, a 44-year-old Calumet City man who police say drove the wrong way down Interstate 294 on March 30 and crashed head-on into Illinois State Trooper Gerald Ellis, killing them both.
At the time of the crash, Davies was out on bond after being charged with six felony DUIs with no license, the most recent in a decades-long series of charges and convictions for DUI, drugs and scores of traffic violations.
NBC 5 Investigates Phil Rogers immediately reached out to the Illinois State’s Attorney’s office to try to find out how and why Davies was allowed free on bond when he had a driving record that state officials call one of the worst they’ve seen.
Rogers spoke to the office’s Chief Communications Officer Tandra Simonton and later sent her an email with additional info.
Below is NBC 5 Investigates’ correspondence with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, as we continue to try to get an answer to that question.
On Apr 2, 2019, at 1:01 PM, Rogers, Phil (NBCUniversal, WMAQ) wrote:
We have just been told by the Sec of State’s office that he never had an Illinois Driver’s License.
Simonton wrote right back:
From: TANDRA SIMONTON (States Attorney)
Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 1:12 PM
To: Rogers, Phil (NBCUniversal, WMAQ)
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: FYI
Wow! I’m working on getting the bond details and will get back to you soon.
Simonton didn’t get back to NBC 5 that day, so Phil Rogers followed up on Wednesday.
You never got back to me and our story aired yesterday. I would still like to know how someone with such an abhorrent record was never jailed. How did he get a $3000 I-bond? Did your office ever seek to keep him in custody. Did any Cook County prosecutor ever realize the extent of his record? Why did this man continue to drive a car? I don’t think these are unfair questions and I would like to know exactly what prosecutors did in this case.
When there was still no answer by Thursday, an NBC 5 Investigates producer followed up:
Hi, Ms. Simonton –
I’m Katy Smyser, an investigative producer who works with Phil Rogers. I am continuing to follow up on Phil’s questions to you from Tuesday, and his follow-up questions from yesterday…:
Can you please provide me with specific information on how Dan Davies (dob 5/30/1974) was released on a $3,000.00 I-bond in case # 19-CR-02676 – in which he was charged with six felony counts of aggravated DUI with no drivers’ license?
We need to understand the entire process by which this bond was agreed to, including:
• What prosecutor or prosecutors in the state’s attorney’s office handled Davies’ case?
• In particular, what prosecutor or prosecutors in the state’s attorney’s office handled the bond portion of Davies’ case?
• What did those prosecutors originally recommend as Davies’ bond (if any)? Did anyone recommend that he be jailed?
• What judge or judges handled the bond hearing and ultimate decision on bond?
• Who ultimately recommended the $3,000 I-bond? If it was recommended by the state’s attorney’s office, please tell me who was involved.
• Even if it was not someone in the state’s attorney’s office who ultimately recommended the $3,000 I-bond, please tell me who, in the state’s attorney’s office, ultimately agreed to this bond; how the final decision was made; and how Davies’ criminal and traffic history may (or may not) have factored in to the granting of this bond.
• Was there any consideration of other options for Davies’ release, in addition to this bond – for example, electric monitoring or some other kind of monitoring?
Once we understand the process that was used to grant this most recent bond, we will have several follow-up questions about the state’s attorney’s role in Davies’ past cases. For reference, here is a link to a summary we put together of his past history in Cook County Criminal and Traffic Courts: https://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/investigates-trooper-ellis-crash-driver-decades-of-offenses-cook-county-508069771.html
Thank you in advance for helping Phil and me to understand the entire process of this particular case….
Producer, NBC5 Investigates
No response from Simonton that day. And no response the following day, on Friday.
On Monday, Rogers wrote to Simon again:
I have been disappointed that you have chosen to completely ignore our requests for information regarding the State’s Attorney’s handling of the case of Dan Davies. We have asked for very basic information in this case. I am aware that your office has been challenged recently by a spate of difficult publicity surrounding the Jussie Smollet case. But the office still has to function. And this case has nothing to do with that one.
We are going to do a follow-up on this case very soon, and it’s extremely important that the State’s Attorney’s Office is represented in some fashion in that story. I don’t want that story to say something to the effect of, “State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office has refused all requests for information on how this case was handled.” But it’s important that you know that I strongly believe that you write that line, not me.
Please. Please respond to the questions which first Katy Smyser, and then I sent you last week. Thank you very much.
Still no response from Simonton.
On Tuesday, NBC 5 Investigates sent yet another note to the State’s Attorney’s media spokesperson:
Dear Ms. Simonton –
Can you please respond to either Phil Rogers or me concerning the questions we’ve had for the past week, concerning Cook County Case number 19-CR-02676, in which Dan Davies was allowed out on bond following six felony charges of DUI with no license?
Our main question continues to be how Davies was allowed out on a $3,000.00 bond, when his record shows such a lengthy history of criminal charges and traffic citations, including clear evidence (in the form of more than two dozen citations for no license) that Davies might get back in a car, if he were allowed out on bond?
At very, very least, can you let us know when you might have some information for us on the state’s attorney’s role in Mr. Davies’ bond?
Thank you very much,
Producer, NBC5 Investigates
As of Wednesday at 4:45pm, there was still no response, so NBC 5 sent this:
Hi, Ms. Simonton –
Once again, Phil Rogers and I are still hoping to hear from you, since you are Chief Communications Officer for Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx.
Unfortunately the information we are looking for – on how Dan Davies was allowed out on the streets, after being charged with multiple counts of DUI with no license, and despite a lengthy traffic and criminal record – is information that we can only get from you.
The public documents in this case give us some basic information, but our key questions – namely, what role the state’s attorney’s office had in allowing Davies out in bond, or in trying to keep him behind bars – can only be answered by your office.
As you obviously know, this is all PUBLIC information. We are just trying to figure out how Davies was allowed out of jail and able to get in a car on Saturday, March 30th; drive the wrong way down I-294; and kill both himself and an innocent driver, Illinois State Trooper Gerald Ellis.
Since it has now been more than a week since we’ve heard anything from you, I am forwarding this correspondence to several other email addresses at your offices, as well, in the hopes that someone – finally – contacts me and Phil to discuss this case. Thank you.
Producer, NBC5 Investigates