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One driver - 13 charges. Is this right? Fair?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

One driver - 13 charges. Is this right? Fair?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
May 6, 2009


Early on the morning of May 4 a driver was followed by Island Lake Police Officer Walter Szarowicz #228. The driver was westbound on Burnett Road, turned south on River Road and then turned east on Route 176 and into the Walgreen's parking lot.

How far is that? 0.3 mile? 0.4 mile? Ofc. Szarowicz stopped the driver, arrested him, had his car towed and took the driver in handcuffs to the Island Lake Police Department. Once there, Ofc. Szarowicz issued the following tickets:

1. Improper Lane Usage
2. Driving in the Wrong Lane
3. Improper Lane usage - violated median
4. Driving in Wrong Lane
5. Leaving the scene of an accident with vehicle damage
6. Disobeyed No Left Turn
7. Fail to Yield to Authorized Emergency Vehicle
8. DUI
9. Reckless Driving
10. No proof of Valid Insurance
11. Improper Lane Usage - drive on shoulder
12. Disobey red light

AND

a felony, "Criminal damage to State-Supported Property" - one pair of ASP handcuffs. Ofc. Szarowicz charged the driver with a felony, even though there was no way in the world the driver could have broken the handcuffs while sitting in a cell in the P.D. See another article on this site about the durability of handcuffs that cost about $34.00.

Even though the driver is charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Vehicle Damage, apparently no Crash Report was completed. There is no new damage on the vehicle, which does have some old damage on the right side. The officer had the car towed, but apparently no Tow Report was made out. The interior of the car looks like it had been ransacked. Everything was removed from compartments and strewn throughout the front of the car, yet there was no Inventory Report completed.

Has this officer exposed the Island Lake Police Department and the Village of Island Lake to serious financial repercussions? The residents of Island Lake and the Village Board should demand answers from Chief Sciarrone about the actions of his officer.

Oh, by the way; the message I left about 5:00PM on May 5? Think that call has been returned? It has not!

Here's the way phone messages work with me. If you call me, I'll call you back. If I call you (and if you are a government official) and leave a message with my name and phone number and request a return call, I expect you to call me back.

Good thing that the driver didn't sneeze into his hands and then touch the broken handcuffs. He probably would have been charged as a terrorist for spreading the swine flu! No matter that he didn't have it.



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