DUI charge dismissed, fired deputy gets job back

By Carly O'Keefe - bio | email

MOUND CITY, IL (KFVS) - A local sheriff fires an employee months ago, but now that same man's back on the job against the sheriff's wishes.

Thursday, Pulaski County Sheriff's Deputy Jereme Dintelman was out on Interstate 57 writing speeding tickets. He's been back on the job for about a week and a half.

His boss, Sheriff Randy Kern, isn't too happy about it either.

Kern fired Dintelman back in August after the off-duty deputy was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol when he wrecked in his personal vehicle on Lackey Road in rural Pulaski County.

According to a report by the Illinois State Police, Dintelman's blood alcohol level was measured at .281 after the crash. That's more than three times the legal limit of .08. Sheriff Kern took Dintelman's badge shortly thereafter.

So how did the deputy get his job back?

Pope County State's Attorney Janet Proctor was assigned as a special prosecutor on the case. She tells Heartland News she did not believe Dintelman would pose a risk to the public. That's why dismissed the DUI charge in exchange for a guilty plea to reckless driving.

That's when Pulaski County State's Attorney Donna McCann advised the Pulaski County Board to re-hire Dintelman as a deputy in a closed-door meeting on November 12. McCann told Heartland News she gave the board that advice because some of the wording on his termination papers was incorrect, and Dintelman had filed a grievance.

Just before the November 12 meeting, Heartland News called Sheriff Kern to see what he thought about all this. At that time, he said he was totally against re-hiring Dintelman under any circumstances. Ultimately, the county board overruled him.

Board Chairman Monte Russell said he's of the opinion that losing an unfair labor practice lawsuit outweighs the potential liability of having Dintelman on the county payroll. It was a decision he believes is the best possible outcome in this situation. Now that Dintelman's back on patrol, Chairman Russell says he hopes the county can just move forward from here.

It turns out; the August 2010 crash prompted what was actually Dintelman's second DUI charge. The first one also involved a crash.

It happened at 8:45 p.m. on March 7, 2002, in Jackson County. Dintelman crashed his Harley Davidson motorcycle near the intersection of Route 149 and Hickory Street in DeSoto.

DeSoto Police Chief Ben Doan responded to the crash and wrote him that DUI. Doan checked his reports, and says Dintelman's blood alcohol level was measured at .284. following that crash.

Dintelman pleaded guilty and was convicted of DUI in that 2002 case.

We reached out to Deputy Dintelman twice to get his side of the story. The first time in person outside the Pulaski county sheriff's department, but he kept on walking through the door and into the building. The second time we tried to contact him by phone but our call was not returned.

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