Village Manager On Leave After Alleged Involvement In Hit-And-Run

Chicago News

OAK LAWN, Ill. (CBS) — Oak Lawn Village Manager Larry Deetjen is now on paid administrative leave as he waits to learn whether he’ll face criminal charges for a hit-and-run.

The crash left a man in critical condition.

CBS 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov reported Monday on what it means for him and taxpayers.

It was raining and slick Thursday night when Chicago Ridge police said a car hit 48-year-old Mark Berkshire and drove away.  He was left lying in the street.  Witnesses helped police find that car later that night.

It was a Village of Oak Lawn vehicle assigned to longtime village manager Larry Deetjen.

Chicago Ridge’s Police Chief said Deetjen told him:

“I know I hit something. But I really thought was a barricade or some kind of drum sitting on the street,” recalled Robert Pyznarski.

Police took Deetjen into custody and on Monday, Village of Oak Lawn officials voted to put him on paid administrative leave until the police investigation is complete. Oak Lawn Police Chief Randy Palmer is taking over for now.

According to village records, Deetjen, makes $169,236 a year.  Insurance benefits amount to just under $13,993.00 a year. So Deetjen’s paid leave is costing taxpayers about $502 a day.

Last week, CBS 2 learned this is the second time Deetjen has left the scene of an accident involving his village car.

In 2013, he drove into a ditch in Palos Park.  Ultimately, an Oak Lawn tow truck came and towed his car.  No one was injured in that case.

The village’s president calls it a true tragedy and said they’re acting prudently. Deetjen was not at Monday’s special session.  CBS 2 tried calling his cell phone but got a message saying the number wasn’t accepting calls at this time.

At last check, the victim was still in intensive care.

No charges, so far.

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