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Rain delays DUI sentencing

Updated: May 20, 2013 7:56PM



ST. CHARLES —A less-than-ordinary drunken driving case added one more unique chapter on Thursday thanks to Mother Nature’s rainy onslaught on the area.

After a bench trial last month, John Holdren, 68, of Aurora, was convicted of DUI in connection to a May 2012 traffic stop near Galena Boulevard and West Park. Holdren told an Aurora police officer he had two or three glasses of wine prior to the stop, but he registered a .147 blood-alcohol content level, according to court records.

He was set to be sentenced on Thursday, but his attorney, Kathleen Colton, told Judge Thomas Stanfa the heavy rain prevented Holdren and a witness on his behalf from appearing in court.

“Because of the massive storm overnight, his basement flooded,” Colton said.

Stanfa agreed to move the sentencing to May 14.

An otherwise straightforward DUI case grew complicated last year when Holdren and Colton challenged the officer’s handling of paperwork in the case, and then accused the officer of making derogatory remarks toward Holdren after a court hearing.

While Judge Thomas Stanfa did rescind the automatic license suspension, he declined to issue court sanctions against the officer and reversed his decision as to the need for a special prosecutor.

Aurora police did conduct an internal investigation into the officer’s actions and determined the paperwork snafu was nothing more than a clerical error, Chief Greg Thomas said this week.

Prior to sentencing, Colton will ask Stanfa to grant Holdren a new trial on grounds that prosecutors did not prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, as Holdren offered a reasonable explanation for his driving and his physical actions at the time of the traffic stop. Prosecutors said Holdren abruptly pulled away from a curb and turned without signaling to prompt the officer to pull him over. When asked to exit the vehicle, Holdren stumbled and staggered, prosecutors said.

Holdren faces up to 364 days in jail at sentencing.



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