PC Radke battery charges

Ross Radke, 62, of Ludlow, charged Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, with two counts of aggravated battery alleging that he tried to strangle a male correctional officer while incarcerated at the Champaign County Jail in downtown Urbana.

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URBANA — A former Ludlow village trustee who was jailed for a weapons offense has been charged with attacking a correctional officer with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.

Ross Radke, 62, was charged Thursday with two counts of aggravated battery alleging that he tried to strangle a male correctional officer.

Judge John Kennedy set bond for Radke, who has been jailed since May 4, at $30,000 on the new charges, after hearing a synopsis of what allegedly happened Wednesday.

Assistant State’s Attorney Brooke Hinman told the judge that about 8:40 p.m., the officer was doing security rounds at the downtown Urbana jail on Main Street and talking with an inmate when he felt something on his left shoulder.

That was followed by hands grabbing him around the throat from behind, making it hard for him to breathe.

The officer got into a fight with Radke, who was eventually subdued by other officers. Other than soreness and scratches on his neck, the correctional officer was not seriously injured. He’s been employed by the sheriff’s office for four years.

Radke appeared before Kennedy via video arraignment Thursday afternoon and had a bandage on his forehead and what appeared to be a blood blister in his eye. He was seated at the time he was being arraigned. Inmates usually stand before the camera.

Hinman told the judge that the other inmate to whom the officer was talking reported that the officer had done nothing to provoke Radke to attack.

Radke was arrested in Rantoul almost five months ago and charged with aggravated unlawful use of weapons and possession of a firearm with a revoked firearm owner’s identification card, for which he is supposed to be back in court Oct. 8.

In that case, he allegedly had a loaded handgun and several magazines for it when he approached a woman who was in her vehicle at a laundromat on Klein Avenue and told her not to get out. She told police he showed her what she believed was a handgun in his coat pocket.

Radke had been appointed a Ludlow Village Board trustee in March 2018 and served until May 6, when his term expired. He ran for mayor in April and was defeated.

If convicted of the more serious of the two counts, Radke faces penalties ranging from probation to three to seven years in prison. And if convicted of the other aggravated unlawful use of weapons, he would have to serve the sentences one after the other.

He is due back in court for a probable-cause hearing on the new charges Sept. 26.

Sheriff Dustin Heuerman said both the correctional officer and Radke were taken to Carle Foundation Hospital to be evaluated and released later. Heuerman has asked the Illinois State Police to investigate since a correctional officer was the alleged victim.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).