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URBANA — A special prosecutor has been appointed to prosecute the Champaign County state's attorney for a traffic ticket she received in an accident late last month.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz, 43, of Urbana was ticketed for failure to yield at an intersection after a Sept. 29 accident that left her and her daughter slightly injured.

The deputy's report said about 4:48 p.m. that Sunday, Rietz was driving a pickup truck hauling a horse trailer west on County Road 1100 N toward the intersection with 2000 E, about a mile northwest of Sidney.

The report said that Rietz and the driver of a southbound Jeep Laredo, Heather Black of Villa Grove, entered the unmarked intersection at the same time and collided.

The impact of the collision caused Rietz's horse trailer to jack-knife and hit the right rear portion of her own truck. It became unhitched and kept going, coming to rest against the right side of Black's Jeep in a field southwest of the intersection.

The report said Rietz and her teen-age daughter were taken to Carle Foundation Hospital for minor injuries.

Black told the deputy she didn't remember anything about the collision except being in her vehicle pinned between a fence and a horse trailer. The report said Black was not injured. Rietz did not give the deputy details of the accident that day, the report said.

The report said a homeowner's fence on County Road 1100 N was damaged.

Rietz is required to appear in court on the ticket because there was an injury. She was told to appear Oct. 28.

Because Rietz's office is charged with prosecuting traffic offenses, Presiding Judge Tom Difanis on Tuesday appointed Champaign attorney Bruce Ratcliffe to prosecute Rietz.

Rietz said she was grateful for the good care that she and her daughter, who sustained a concussion, received after the accident. She said her daughter is recovering nicely.

Her daughter's horse also sustained a few cuts and was treated by professionals from the University of Illinois veterinary medicine school. The horse was able to walk off the trailer, she said.

Rietz said there was tall corn at the intersection and neither she nor Black, who she said hit her in the passenger side, saw each other, nor did they stop.

"People should be careful about high corn intersections," she said. "Very luckily, we all walked away."




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