Ravinia CEO gets DUI in Highland Park

June 13, 2012 8:14:20 AM PDT
The CEO of the Ravinia Festival has been charged with DUI after a two-car crash Thursday in north suburban Highland Park.

The accident occurred around 8:45 p.m. at the intersection of Roger Williams Avenue and Sheridan Road. No injuries were reported.

Welz Kauffman, 51, of Highland Park, was charged with DUI and improper lane usage.

Kauffman was released on bond and is due in court June 29.

Deputy Chief David Schwarz said Kauffman was headed south on Sheridan when he sideswiped a vehicle turning left in front of him. Kauffman then called police to report the accident, Schwarz said.

Police said Kauffman registered a .154 blood-alcohol level, nearly twice the legal limit.

Ravinia, which hosted Concert Dance Inc. that night in its Bennett Gordon Hall, released the following statement Monday:

"For more than a decade the Ravinia Festival has flourished on and off stage under the leadership of Welz Kauffman, and we believe it is in our best interests for him to continue to lead the festival," Robert Krebs, chairman of the Ravinia Board, said in the statement. "Both Welz and we recognize that he has an illness, and the Ravinia family will support him as he works to overcome it."

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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