State Briefs 5/29/08
State Rep. arrested for drunken driving
SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Bob Biggins, R-Elmhurst, was arrested early Wednesday morning in Springfield on a drunken driving charge.
Biggins was driving at about 1 a.m. on North Eighth Street near North Grand Avenue at the time of his arrest, Springfield police spokesman Ray Serati said.
Police are not releasing Biggins' blood-alcohol level or other information, citing the pending court case.
“I made a serious lapse in judgment and sincerely apologize to my family and those I represent who may be disappointed today,” Biggins said in a written statement. “I take full responsibility for my actions and will face any and all legal consequences.”
Legislators are in the capital this week trying to reach an agreement on the state budget before Saturday's deadline.
Suburban Life Publications
Man arrested for allegedly kicking police chief in head
ELMWOOD — A man is in jail after allegedly kicking Elmwood’s police chief in the head at an apartment complex.
Matthew R. Eberle, 18, was booked into the Peoria County Jail on charges of aggravated battery to police, possessing of less than 2.5 grams of marijuana, possession of drug equipment, resisting arrest and battery.
Eberle allegedly confronted Chief Aaron Bean shortly before midnight Wednesday when Bean was investigating a complaint of a man screaming in a second-floor hallway.
Assisting officers from Farmington and Yates City found Bean “down on the ground, propped up against the wall” of the apartment building when they arrived, said Peoria County Sheriff’s Capt. Dave Briggs, referring to police reports.
Those officers soon located Eberle, who had to be shot with a Taser because he was combative. With help from Peoria County sheriff’s deputies, officers arrested Eberle.
A tenant of the apartment complex told police that prior to Bean arriving, they saw Eberle “breathing heavily” and acting “goofy,” reports said. Eberle’s erratic behavior stemmed from an earlier incident inside one of the apartments, police said.
The tenant of the apartment had asked Eberle to leave, who in turn was upset and punched several people in the face. He then went into the hallway and started screaming, prompting a call to police.
Eberle was taken to Methodist Medical Center and has since been released. Bean is resting at home after being treated at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.
Journal Star, Peoria
Stacy Peterson’s aunt testifies to grand jury
JOLIET – Stacy Peterson’s aunt, Candace Aikin, testified Thursday before a Will County grand jury investigating her niece’s disappearance.
Aikin declined to comment on specifics of her testimony but said she was asked about Stacy’s personality, parenting and her relationship with her husband Drew Peterson, who is a suspect in her disappearance.
About a half hour after Aiken concluded her testimony, the 22-year-old tanning salon employee that admitted to spending the night at Drew Peterson's home rushed out of the Will County Court Annex Building after her grand jury appearance.
Kim Matuska of Darien declined to comment on her grand jury appearance saying only, "I'm trying to get out of this."
Drew Peterson was issued a written warning for speeding earlier this month while he was in route to pick up Matuska after the driver of a car she was in was arrested for DUI.
Matuska denied having a physical relationship with Peterson, saying "I'm not seeing Drew."
Suburban Life Publications
Man skips out on murder verdict
ROCKFORD — Police are looking for a 39-year-old Rockford man who didn’t show up for the final moment of his murder trial Wednesday night — the reading of a guilty verdict.
Brian S. Johnson, who was out on bond pending the outcome of his trial, is wanted on a warrant for failure to appear on a charge of first-degree murder. It’s a no-bond warrant, meaning if Johnson is found and arrested, he will not be allowed to post any amount of money in exchange for his freedom.
This was Johnson’s second trial for the 2001 murder of Britton Tullock. The first guilty verdict, from a bench trial in 2005, was thrown out by the judge. The second trial started May 13.
Rockford Register Star
Another Freeport school threatened
FREEPORT — A second Freeport School District 145 building has received a threat.
Nick Swords, Freeport Junior High School assistant principal, confirmed his school received one. Swords declined to comment further, citing Freeport Police Department’s “ongoing criminal investigation.”
He was unable to determine when new information would be announced.
“In a situation like this, we want to be 100 percent sure,” Swords said.
The junior high has nearly 700 students, according to Swords. Those students were at school. Their last day will be June 3. Whether those students would be released early hasn’t been discussed, Swords said. Repeated calls to the police department were unreturned.
Lincoln document project gets $1.4 million gift
SPRINGFIELD – An ongoing effort to catalog every document Abraham Lincoln wrote or received got a $1.4 million boost, state officials announced Thursday.
Kathryn W. Davis and her family recently awarded the grant, to be paid over five years, to the Papers of Abraham Lincoln's search for documents at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation will oversee the grant.
Davis, 101, is the widow of Shelby Cullom Davis, the great nephew of Sen. and Gov. Shelby M. Cullom (1829-1914). Sen. Cullom was a legal and political contemporary of Abraham Lincoln.
The grant will allow the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project to hire four more researchers in Washington to expedite the searching and scanning processes. Since June 2006, a small team of project researchers has been combing records from the State, Treasury and Interior departments at Archives II in College Park, Md.