Police & Courts

Man who battered woman, led police on chase sentenced to 12 years in prison

Robert Sparks
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 10, 2019 5:05 pm Updated: Jan. 10, 2019 5:08 pm

QUINCY -- A Quincy man has been sentenced to 12 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections after pleading guilty but mentally ill to charges in a domestic battery incident and subsequent high-speed pursuit last year on the city's north side.

Robert D. Sparks entered the plea Thursday in Adams County Circuit Court to charges of aggravated domestic battery and aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol. He was immediately sentenced to prison by Judge Robert Adrian.

The plea recognizes that Sparks, 46, has mental health issues and would allow him to receive mental health treatment through the Department of Corrections, though it doesn't affect the sentence.

Adams County Assistant State's Attorney Laura Keck noted that Sparks had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. At the time of his arrest, police said Sparks attempted to cut himself.

Keck said if the case had gone to trial, she would have called Quincy police officers who would have testified that they were called Feb. 22, 2017, to the 500 block of North 22nd Street, where they found a 49-year-old woman who showed signs that she had been battered. The woman told police that Sparks had been paranoid for a couple months accusing her of "sleeping around."

He is alleged to have hit the woman's face 15 times before grabbing a knife and threatening to kill her and then himself.

The woman was taken to Blessing Hospital for treatment, where she was diagnosed with a brain bleed, a broken right eye socket and required 11 stitches to an ear. She also was diagnosed with permanent post-concussion syndrome.

Sparks was later found by police at North 22nd and College Avenue, and he fled officers for 15 minutes until apprehended in the Knapheide Manufacturing Co. parking lot at North 30th and Koch's Lane.

Blessing Hospital was under lockdown until Sparks' arrest, after he reportedly threatened the woman.

Keck said a blood test revealed Sparks had a blood alcohol content of 0.174 at the time of his arrest. He was taken to Blessing Hospital for treatment of injuries.

As part of the negotiated plea, charges of domestic battery, aggravated fleeing to elude a peace officer, aggravated assault and a misdemeanor count of aggravated assault were dropped.

Sparks must serve 85 percent of the domestic battery charge and 50 percent of the aggravated DUI charge before he is eligible for parole. He also was ordered to pay more than $45,000 in restitution.

He received credit for the 316 days he has been held in the Adams County Jail on $1 million bond.

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