Knox County State’s Attorney John Pepmeyer filed an additional charge of reckless homicide against Lakeesha D. Smith in court Monday, lengthening the maximum sentence she could face if convicted in last week’s hit-and-run death of Tundun Lawani ’14.
Smith, 33, of McKnight Street, was arrested last Sunday following an investigation of Lawani’s death. She was charged with leaving the scene of a fatality and two counts of aggravated DUI in connection with the incident, and the additional charge alone, a class 3 felony, could carry up to a 10-year sentence.
Smith made a brief court appearance Monday before Circuit Judge James B. Stewart following last week’s initial hearing when the judge set bond for Smith at $100,000. On Monday, Smith requested a public defender be appointed to represent her since she had not yet found an attorney.
Smith, who has not posted the $10,000 required to leave jail, appeared in court handcuffed and wearing orange jail scrubs. While waiting in the completely filled courtroom, she mostly looked down at the floor before speaking with the judge. Around 10 Knox students, faculty and staff were in attendance.
Smith was arrested last Sunday several hours after the fatal incident, which occurred around 3:30 a.m. Police used Knox surveillance footage to identify her blue 1997 Ford Taurus, prosecutors said in last Monday’s bond hearing.
Smith told investigators she had been drinking between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. Her blood-alcohol level was .072 nearly four hours after the incident, according to police records.
Smith had no prior record of DUI, but was cited twice in 2006 for driving with a revoked license, according to Illinois Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker.
In Galesburg, Smith was arrested for aggravated battery in 2003 and disorderly conduct this past April, according to police records. At the time of the incident, she was on probation for a retail theft in Peoria County in 2010. She was also convicted of check fraud in Peoria County in 2005.
Smith’s next court appearance is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 9 at the Knox County Courthouse.
Co-News Editor Matt McKinney contributed to this report.