DUI charge dismissed against off-duty Vermilion deputy

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.


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rsp wrote on February 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Did he refuse a breath test, or was he just not given one? Favoritism can come into play in how the stop is handled, how the charge is handled, and the fact he was still on the job while charges were pending against him. Like, if he wasn't a deputy, wouldn't they have requested a blood sample with a court order like they do for others? 

mark taylor's ghost wrote on February 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm

What in the world would make you think that the criminal 'justice' system would show any special treatment for a drunk driving cop. I mean it's not like there's a long history of that happening again and again and again and again.

Oh, wait...

sameeker wrote on February 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Amazing. When it is a cops word against a citizen, that is all the evidence that is needed. I guess it messes things up when you have a cops word against a cop. As for the ticket, he either ran the red light or he didn't. I had a Westville cop stop me and said that I crossed the center line. The roads had snow piled up along the edges of the road and I had to avoid it. He lied and said that the roads were clear on the ticket. I am tired of the blatant favoritism being shown all of the time. If the guy refused to take a breathalyzer test, why does he still have a license and a job? Illinois is one crooked state and it is time for the people to set things right.

Jsmith68 wrote on February 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Actually two questions here.  First, if someone refuses to take a breath test then their license is automatically suspended for one year, so why him on 30 days? Secondly, does this have anything to do with the fact the deputy who arrested him was fired?  If I am the News Gazzette I would FOIA the report and video, just out of curiosity sake, and have an officer with experience look at it.  Something shady here. 

ilpatriot wrote on February 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm

How was it that he only got a 30 day suspension? Court records indicate a provisional reinstatement date of 2-23-13. .

  01-09-12                 Complaint 01 Count 001 DRVG UNDER INFLU OF ALCOHOL
                            Statute 625 5/11-501(a)(2)  Class A  Orig.
                            Agency: CHAMPAIGN COUNTY SHERIFF  Ticket#: 45602
                            Bond Type Hold Without Bond
                            Created and properly labeled court case file.
                            Sheriff Booking Fee
                            Written entry of appearance on file by Anthony Novak.
   01-18-12                 Sworn report on file.  Defendant refused test.
   01-30-12                 Confirmation of Statutory Summary Suspension on file.
                            Provisional reinstatement date 2-23-13

625 ILCS 5/6-208.

 Sec. 6-208.1. Period of statutory summary alcohol, other drug, or intoxicating compound related suspension or revocation.
    (a) Unless the statutory summary suspension has been rescinded, any person whose privilege to drive a motor vehicle on the public highways has been summarily suspended, pursuant to Section 11-501.1, shall not be eligible for restoration of the privilege until the expiration of:
        1. Twelve months from the effective date of the     statutory summary suspension for a refusal or failure to complete a test or tests to determine the alcohol, drug, or intoxicating compound concentration, pursuant to Section 11-501.1, if the person was not involved in a motor vehicle crash that caused personal injury or death to another