Officer in DUI Case Wins a Ruling

Hal Dardick

There was no probable cause to arrest Aurora Police Officer Ronald E. Hinterlong on drunken driving charges, a Kane county circuit Court judge decided this week.

Judge James C. Hallock made the determination during a civil hearing Tuesday on whether Hinterlong should get back his driver's license, which was suspended after his April 28 arrest, said defense attorney David Camic. Hinterlong's license was returned to him, Camic added.

Hinterlong will again appear before Hallock July 6 for a status hearing on criminal charges in the case. Camic said he would ask to have the charges dismissed.

Assistant Kane County State's Atty. Bill Engerman declined to comment on the criminal case." It's two separate and distinct issues," he said.

Hinterlong testified that he believed Officer David Schmidt arrested him because of statements Hinterlong made about Schmidt during an internal department investigation of racial profiling allegations. He also said Schmidt had professional differences with his brother, Sgt. Tom Hinterlong.

Schmidt denied those motives, saying he was unaware of Hinterlong's statements during the racial profiling probe.

Two officers and a friend said they saw Hinterlong the night of his arrest and did not believe he was impaired. Testimony indicated Hinterlong had about six drinks in the seven hours before his arrest and was driving to a friend's to return keys they left at Hinterlong's house.

Another officer testified that Schmidt charged a suspect in a separate incident with drunken driving after the suspect passed field sobriety tests.

Schmidt wrote in his arrest report that he stopped Hinterlong after spotting him speeding on Galena Boulevard near Fordham Avenue. Hinterlong allegedly drove a short distance twice after being stopped. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding.