DUI charge dismissed against off-duty Vermilion deputy
URBANA — The Champaign County state's attorney's office has dismissed a driving under the influence charge lodged last year against an off-duty Vermilion County sheriff's deputy.
Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dornik said she dismissed the charge against James "Nick" Beddow, 46, of Danville, on Feb. 13 because she didn't have the evidence to convict him.
"After speaking with the state's attorney and reviewing the facts and the evidence, I did not feel it would be appropriate to proceed," said Dornik, who said she also dismissed a ticket Beddow received on Jan. 8, 2012, for allegedly running a red light.
Beddow was arrested by a Champaign County sheriff's deputy after he was seen allegedly running a red light in the 1500 block of East University Avenue in Urbana shortly before 2 a.m. that day.
Dornik said Beddow did not submit to a breath test and no field sobriety tests were conducted.
"There wasn't, in my opinion, any notable driving issues," said Dornik, who viewed video obtained from the Champaign County deputy's squad car showing Beddow outside his vehicle.
As for the traffic ticket, Dornik said: "The evidence I had didn't match the ticket."
Beddow has been with the Vermilion County Sheriff's Office for 24 years.
Vermilion County Sheriff Pat Hartshorn said with the exception of 30 days that his license was suspended, Beddow remained on the job as a patrol sergeant while this case was pending.
Beddow was represented by Urbana attorney Tony Novak, who said the state's attorney did the right thing by dismissing the case.
"I don't think they had proof he committed any crime," said Novak, who felt confident Beddow would have been acquitted had the case gone to a jury.
"Frankly, I believe this case would have been dismissed more quickly and easily if Sgt. Beddow was not a law enforcement officer. The state's attorney took extra care in this case simply to avoid the appearance of any favoritism to an officer," Novak said.