If Colón Is Guilty of Drunk Driving, There’s No Excuse for His Behavior

Rey Colon
35th Ward Alderman Rey Colón

35th Ward Alderman Rey Colón has done some good things for the city, including projects to improve conditions for walking and biking in his Northwest Side district, and he’s a very likeable person. So it was distressing to read that he was arrested early Friday morning for allegedly driving while drunk.

Around 1 a.m. Friday, Colón was driving westbound on the Eisenhower Expressway in his SUV, the Tribune reported. Police officers pulled him over after they observed him drifting between lanes without signaling, as he prepared to exit the highway at Homan Avenue in East Garfield Park.

“[Colón] was cooperative with field sobriety tests and [was] transported to the 11th District for processing,” police spokeswoman Monique Bond told the Sun-Times. “He was given citations for DUI, no driver’s license, improper lane usage and failure to signal when changing lanes. When they pulled up the records, they found that the alderman’s driver’s license had expired less than six months ago.” If convicted on all of these charges, the alderman could face over $10,000 in fines and up to a year in prison.

Bond declined to say whether Colón took a breathalyzer test, as is common these kind of cases. The alderman also declined to say whether he took the test, where he was coming from, and how much he had to drink, the Sun-Times reported.

“It really doesn’t help me to talk about details of the case, because it’s not something that needs to be tried in public,” Colón told the Sun-Times. “I am cooperating, I have every confidence in the legal system that justice will be served in this matter, and I really want to just focus on just serving my constituents, and representing my ward and its neighborhoods, and not let this be a distraction.”

It’s particularly troubling that this was Colón’s second arrest for an alleged DUI. In 1995, he was convicted of driving drunk and sentenced to supervision, according to court records. Two years later, he was found guilty of driving an uninsured car, the Trib reported. These legal problems became a political issue during his first successful aldermanic election campaign in 2003, and again when he ran for reelection in 2007.

Despite his good works for his ward and the city, if Colón is guilty, he should certainly face the same punishment as anyone else. There are myriad safe alternatives to drunk driving in this city, including ride-sharing, taxis, and transit – the alderman was literally a stone’s throw from the Blue Line’s Kedzie-Homan station when he was pulled over.

If Colón was, in fact, driving drunk, there really is no excuse for his behavior, especially since he was cited for the same offense once before. The DUI issue is likely to surface again during his campaign for reelection later this year.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Cost Isn’t the Issue With Palmer Square Speed Tables, NIMBYs Are

|
Last month, a DNAinfo.com article drew attention to a new campaign to improve pedestrian safety at Palmer Square by installing raised crosswalks, also known as speed tables. Unfortunately, factual errors in the piece left the impression that raised crosswalks would be an expensive solution that doesn’t have the Chicago Department of Transportation’s approval. It turns […]

City Council Takes a Step Backwards, Bans Pedicabs in Loop

|
At today’s City Council meeting, an ordinance regulating pedicabbers – and banning them from downtown streets – passed with almost no opposition. Operators say that the new rules will put them out of business, since they’ll be prohibited from operating in the Loop during rush hours, as well as Michigan and State, between Oak and […]

Another Example of IDOT Blocking Efforts for Safer Chicago Streets

|
[This piece also runs in Checkerboard City, John’s column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets on Wednesday evenings.] The Illinois Department of Transportation isn’t all bad, but it sure seems that way sometimes. Earlier this year Steven Vance broke the story that IDOT has been blocking the Chicago Department of Transportation from installing protected […]

Without Planning, Mega Parking Lot Could Replace Megamall

|
Terraco and Sierra U.S., two commercial real estate firms, have started marketing to potential tenants space within a new development at the site of the defunct Megamall, along Milwaukee Avenue northwest of Sacramento Avenue in Logan Square. Marketing documents published by Curbed Chicago show a new building housing 166,390 square feet of retail, including a supermarket and […]

New Law Could Pre-Empt Parking Lots Along Albany Park’s Main Streets

|
A proposal to build a suburban-style Walgreens at the busy corner of Lawrence and Kimball avenues in Albany Park, across from the Brown Line’s terminus, has sparked a proposal to introduce Pedestrian Street designations to the lively, diverse neighborhood. 33rd Ward Alderman Deb Mell has expressed her disapproval of the design, requesting a more walkable store […]