URBANA — A former Urbana firefighter was resentenced Wednesday to 20 days in the county jail and another five months and 10 days of electronic home detention for a 2009 driving under the influence conviction.
Champaign County Judge John Kennedy also sentenced Tony Foster, 40, who listed an address in the 2100 block of Stonebrooke Court, to two years of probation, ordered him to wear an alcohol monitoring bracelet while on electronic home detention, and to continue with alcohol treatment.
Foster pleaded guilty in April 2010 to driving under the influence of alcohol on Dec. 2, 2009, admitting he fled twice from a Rantoul police officer who tried to stop him on U.S. 45.
At the time, Foster was a division chief for the Urbana Fire Department, earning $81,000 a year. He had been an Urbana firefighter for 15 years. He resigned about two months before the plea, which netted him a sentence of 18 months of conditional discharge.
However, Foster — and his wife, Rhonda Foster, 33 — were both charged in connection with an Aug. 4, 2011, incident in which he wrecked his pickup truck in Urbana while driving under the influence, then asked his wife to lie to police to cover for him.
The obstructing justice charge against Rhonda Foster, who is also an Urbana firefighter, was dismissed Tuesday by State's Attorney Julia Rietz.
Rietz said she did so because she was satisfied with the suspension meted out by the city to Mrs. Foster and the fact that Tony Foster eventually took responsibility for his own actions.
Urbana Fire Chief Mike Dilley said he was unable to talk about Rhonda Foster's punishment because it's a personnel issue. She is currently on maternity leave, having given birth to a daughter Jan. 2.
Tony Foster told Judge John Kennedy he was "very deserving of punishment" but asked the judge to consider a sentence that would allow him to keep a job he recently got with a construction company so he can support his wife and three children.
Foster told the judge he's been getting treatment since his most recent arrest and is attending a church where he's been asked to lead a group to help others with alcohol problems.
Assistant State's Attorney Marley Nelson recommended an unspecified amount of jail time for Foster, noting he was on conditional discharge when he wrecked his pickup truck. Nelson told the judge that Foster told his wife he had blacked out and couldn't remember where he left the truck.
"He convinced Mrs. Foster to lie to police to cover that he was driving," Nelson said, adding that she objected to electronic home detention.
Assistant Public Defender Chris Mellon argued for a community-based sentence that would allow Foster to keep working and supporting his family. The 2009 conviction for DUI was Foster's first, Mellon said, adding that Foster pleaded guilty to that and admitted that he violated his conditional discharge.