Two more Dixon taverns added to wrongful death suit

Defendant Derrick Flynn remains free after posting bond in second felony criminal case

Derrick L. Flynn

DIXON – Two more Dixon taverns were added as defendants in a lawsuit filed in the death of a 28-year-old man who died after being thrown or otherwise “exiting” a moving car.

Sharese Sneed of Aurora filed suit July 20 in Lee County Court, accusing Derrick L. Flynn, 40, and Tipsy, bar, of being responsible for the wrongful death of her son, Yishmael Q. Sneed.

Flynn also is facing criminal charges in Sneed’s death, including one that accuses him of refusing to submit to a blood draw to determine if he was intoxicated.

Sneed was a passenger in a car driven by Flynn about 1:30 a.m. Sept. 24, 2022. The pair got into a fight and Sneed died of blunt force injuries received when he “exited” Flynn’s vehicle, which was traveling west in the 1200 block of Palmyra Road, police said.

According to the suit, Sneed was thrown or ejected from the vehicle.

Before the incident, Flynn was drinking at Tipsy, 79 S. Hennepin Ave., according to the original complaint, and also at Drifter’s Saloon, 85 S. Galena Ave., and Patio’s Irish Pub, 222 W. First St., according to the amended complaint filed Sept. 6.

Drifter’s is owned by Galena Trail Inc. LLC, which is the named defendant, along with Tipsy LLC, Patio Pub LLC and Flynn. All three bars are within walking distance of each other in downtown Dixon.

At all three, Flynn was served into the early morning hours of Sept. 24 despite being “observably intoxicated,” and staff continued to serve him even though he had been served enough drinks that they “knew or should have known he was intoxicated,” according to the suit.

It does not say if Sneed was with him at any venue.

Under the Illinois Liquor Control Act, also known as the Dram Shop Act, a provider of alcoholic beverages can be held liable for a person’s injuries or death caused by an intoxicated person if the alcohol that was sold or otherwise provided caused or contributed to the intoxication, and if the intoxication was the “proximate,” or primary, cause of the injuries or death.

In addition to being drunk, Flynn was driving too fast for conditions, failed to stay in his own lane and failed to make sure Sneed was properly secured when he was thrown, according to the suit.

It seeks damages in excess of $50,000 from each defendant, and a jury trial.

None of the four defendants had replied to the suit as of Wednesday. A status hearing is set for Oct. 3.

Sharese Sneed is represented by Deutschman & Skafish of Chicago.

Flynn is criminally charged with aggravated battery and obstructing justice (for refusing a blood draw at the hospital), both felonies, and with DUI and domestic battery, both misdemeanors.

Aggravated battery carries two to five years in prison, obstructing justice one to four years.

He was arrested that night, and posted $20,000 of $200,000 bond and was freed on Sept. 29.

He has a pretrial conference Oct. 5.

Flynn also was charged Aug. 23 after police said he again got into a fight in a moving vehicle, this time with a woman while he was her passenger.

Flynn is accused of beating the woman in the face with an aluminum bottle and hitting her with his hands as she was driving them from Rock Falls back to Dixon on Bloody Gulch Road.

He is charged with with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, for “causing severe lacerations and various chipped or dislodged teeth,” and with aggravated battery in a public place, in this case a public thoroughfare, according to the charging documents.

He faces two to five years on each count if convicted.

Bond was set at $300,000; he posted $30,000 and was freed on Sept. 8.

According to the terms of his release, Flynn must wear a GPS monitor and is confined to his home, allowed only to go to work, court or medical appointments, State’s Attorney Charley Boonstra said.

His preliminary hearing in that case also is Oct. 5.

According to Lee County Court records:

Flynn was sentenced March 11, 2010, to 2 ½ years of probation for aggravated battery, for beating a man in the face with a pitcher on Nov. 15, 2009.

On May 4, 2006, he was sentenced to a year of conditional discharge for theft, after violating the terms of his two-year probation in January 2004.

He was charged March 20, 2015, with two counts of domestic battery; those charges were dismissed July 23, 2015.

On Aug. 21, 2006, he was charged with criminal defacement of property; that charge was dismissed Oct. 16, 2006.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.