Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hit and Run Judge, Guilty

Reporter Dan Rozek at the Chicago Sun Times has this report about a local Judge involved in a hit and run.  Judge Kenneth Popejory (pic) entered a guilty plea and he still hopes to hold onto his job.  Here's the story:

"A DuPage County judge charged in a hit-and-run crash with a parked car pleaded guilty to reckless driving today while making his first court appearance. After his guilty plea to the misdemeanor offense, Judge Kenneth Popejoy was fined $500 and sentenced to six months of conditional discharge, a type of non-reporting probation.

Popejoy declined to comment directly after the court appearance, but said in a written statement that he accepts 'full and complete responsibility for my actions. I deeply regret my conduct in this matter and intend to rededicate myself to the principles and values in my life that have brought me so many blessings,’  his statement said.

He declined to comment further because of a pending review of the crash by the state’s Judicial Inquiry Board, which has the power to discipline judges for their conduct. His attorney, however, said the June 29 crash might be a result of mechanical problems with the 2003 Jeep that Popejoy was driving when he allegedly struck a parked car in west suburban Glen Ellyn.

Popejoy, 59, didn’t stop to report the 8:30 p.m. collision but continued on to his Wheaton home, though witnesses quickly reported the crash to police, including providing the license number of the vehicle that Popejoy was driving.  Defense attorney John Donahue said police officers who arrived at the judge’s home within minutes of the crash determined he was not 'impaired or intoxicated by anything.’

The swift guilty plea is an acknowledgement by Popejoy that he 'erred in judgement’ by not reporting the crash himself, Donahue said.

'He’s just depressed about the fact that in this case, he made the wrong decision,’ Donahue said.

Popejoy has been on the bench since 1997 and faces a retention vote this fall to retain his seat. Reckless driving carries a maximum punishment of one year in jail."
Wow, your county judge crashes into a parked car and drives off, and still thinks the local citizens should retain him as judge?  That's pretty optimistic. 

My guess is the Illinois disciplinary authorities may have a few thoughts about his license. 

1 comment:

  1. I know this article is really old, but can't believe they let this drunk slide. I've seen this guy wasted.

    I ran cross country at North Central College where he was an 'assistant coach'. There was a team 'party' around the track/fieldhouse one night after nationals. Popejoy was there with his fiance. She was talking to one of the guys on the team and he went bezerk on the guy. If he wasn't 19 and scared out of his mind that this authority figure is insane drunk would have easily knocked out the little napoleon.

    I never heard an explanation or apology for that event, either. He is a man of little character. His motivational speeches droned on his regret of choking at olympic trials--you don't want that regret. pfft.

    The sad epilogue is that he kept his job on the bench. People complain about crooked Cook County.