Cook County sheriff conducting 3-day DUI arrests sweep

The Cook County sheriff's office is conducting a sweep for people with DUI arrests who failed to appear in court or meet court-ordered obligations.
December 31, 2013 4:24:27 PM PST
The Cook County sheriff's office is conducting a sweep for people with DUI arrests who failed to appear in court or meet court-ordered obligations.

Eyewitness News reporter Paul Meincke rode with the sheriff's police during Tuesday's sweep.

In Cook County, there are over 600 outstanding criminal warrants for drunk driving just for the year 2013 alone. The mission over the last three days has been to whittle down that number and get repeat offenders off the street.

They are people who've failed to follow judge's orders or they've simply blown off going to court. They're not always easy to find. Many use aliases, move around or give phony addresses.

"Actually yesterday when we were out looking for an individual, he provided the address to a church on the southeast side of the city. (What did you think when you rolled up on the church?) Well, I knew we weren't looking for a member of the clergy," said Sgt. Servando "Bill" Vellez, Cook County Sheriff's Police.

The team from Central Warrants was told on one stop Tuesday that the man they were seeking had left for a meeting with his Alcoholics Anonymous group. They were skeptical of that, and equally skeptical when they arrived at another stop and were told the young man they're looking for was not at home, when in fact, they would later find him hiding in a crawlspace under a stairwell. Based on his later choice of language, he was not happy. He is among around 50 re-arrests in the three-day sweep.

Eyewitness News reporter Paul Meincke asks: "Most of those arrested are back in jail. Higher bonds, new court dates. Will they show?"

"Some of them will, some of them won't. Then, there'll be another warrant for their arrest. They'll be picked up and given a higher bond, or maybe the judge won't give them a bond," said Bob O'Neill, director, Cook County Sheriff's Police warrant unit.

Back on the street, Sgt. Vellez gets a call from one of the DUI wanted who pledges to turn himself in. Lightheartedly referred to as "arrest by appointment," but an arrest nonetheless.


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