State Briefs 6/20/08

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Man accidentally released from jail

PEKIN – A Washington man accused of robbing a man at knifepoint was accidentally released from the Tazewell County jail earlier this month and an employee there has been reprimanded.

Jail Superintendent Earl Helm said Thursday that Vernon E. Loughe, 42, was released from the jail June 3, the day of his arrest, because of "a paperwork mix-up."

"He was inadvertently released," Helm said. "It was really kind of a convoluted mess." Loughe, meanwhile, is still being sought.

He was arrested and brought to the jail on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge, Helm said. Loughe went to court and was then released from jail.

But Loughe apparently also was wanted on a felony warrant for allegedly robbing a man and taking his wallet last July.

The warrant was "recalled," by Tazewell County State's Attorney Stewart Umholtz's office, Helm said. But an "interim order" was issued the same day the warrant was recalled.

The reprimand was verbal and no suspensions or more serious disciplinary action was taken, Helm said.

Journal Star, Peoria

FEMA to inspect flooded homes

MACHESNEY PARK – Inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will visit the Rock River Valley on June 30 to survey flood-damaged homes.

Municipal and state officials said during a news conference Friday at Machesney Park Village Hall that an estimated 600 homes in Machesney Park and Roscoe have been damaged by floodwaters. Many of those homes are along Shore Drive and surrounding streets in Machesney Park and in the Edgemere Terrace neighborhood in Roscoe.

Machesney Park officials are investigating the possibility of tapping a federal program to buy out homes in the flood-damaged zones that may not be salvageable. But whether the village would qualify for the federal aid — or afford to pay a required 25 percent match — is unclear for now.

No estimates of the flood damage are available, though village officials expect the total to reach several million dollars.

Rockford Register Star

Son of state's attorney gets court supervision in traffic case

PEKIN - Tazewell County State's Attorney Stewart Umholtz's teenage son pleaded guilty Thursday to breaking a new traffic law created this year in response to a string of teen driving deaths.

Alexander M. Umholtz, 17, was given nine months of court supervision after he pleaded guilty to having too many passengers in his car on March 23, when he crashed into a parked car in Pekin.

He is one of the first to be cited locally under the new state law designed to protect teen drivers, created after 15 teens were killed in Tazewell County during a 16-month span between March 2005 and July 2006.

A graduated driver's license program became law Jan. 1 in the state, implementing stricter rules for teen drivers. Among the new rules is a limit of one unrelated person in a teen driver's car at any time.

Umholtz also pleaded guilty to a speeding ticket he received March 15 for driving 78 mph in a 55 mph zone. One count of disobeying a traffic control device was dropped. He will be required to pay fines and court costs.

Journal Star, Peoria

Police spend two hours at bridge stopping jumper

LACON - For the second time in about two months, a Chillicothe man was talked off the Lacon bridge over the Illinois River on Wednesday night after going onto it and threatening to jump, police said.

The bridge, which is on Illinois Route 17, was closed for more than two hours as a small army of police and other emergency responders converged to try to prevent the 33-year-old man from jumping or to rescue him if he did, according to the Marshall County Sheriff's Department.

As in a similar incident in mid-April, the man was transported to Methodist Medical Center in Peoria for evaluation and possible treatment, said Sheriff's Lt. Terry Hatton.

But in the wake of this second episode, police also are considering criminal charges.

"There were an awful lot of man-hours and expense," and also safety risk to firefighters who were paged out to respond in boats at night, Hatton said.

The man "put a lot of people in harm's way," Hatton said.

Hatton was preparing Thursday afternoon to meet with State's Attorney Paul Bauer.

Police were called at 9:05 p.m. about a man who had climbed over the bridge railing and appeared to be planning to jump. A friend was enlisted to help talk him into coming off the bridge, Hatton said.

Journal Star, Peoria

‘Sexually dangerous’ man will not be released

SPRINGFIELD – A 40-year-old Springfield man has lost his bid to be released from Big Muddy Correctional Center after his petition claiming he was no longer a sexually dangerous person was denied.

A Sangamon County jury found Richard Ambrose to be sexually dangerous in 1999, and he was sent to the southern Illinois prison for an indefinite period to receive treatment.

Mark Carich, a psychologist, and psychiatrist Dr. Angeline Stanislaus, both from Big Muddy, testified Wednesday that Ambrose had chosen not to receive treatment at the prison, and that they diagnosed him with both pedophilia and a personality disorder.

They also said he was a high risk to re-offend.

Moline psychologist Kirk Witherspoon testified for the petitioner that Ambrose wasn’t a risk and had no mental disorders. He said in his written report that Ambrose was never sexually dangerous, despite the findings of the jury and appellate courts.

Circuit Judge John Belz found that Ambrose continues to be sexually dangerous and ordered him returned to Big Muddy.

Ambrose was sent to Big Muddy based on charges he assaulted two 5-year-old girls, one of whom was a relative and the other a neighbor, in 1999, said assistant state’s attorney Sheryl Essenburg.

State Journal-Register