MARKHAM | Before receiving a six-year prison sentence Tuesday for a 2011 fatal car crash, longtime Lynwood official Roy Valle sought forgiveness.
Valle, 66, read from a statement he prepared, asking for forgiveness from the family of Rebekkah Little and from the residents of the village where he served for 24 years, the last eight as village clerk.
Valle said he realizes his conduct was embarrassing to Lynwood village government and its residents.
“He realizes that this is bigger than just him doing something bad,” said Raymond Garza, Valle's attorney. “He asked Lynwood for forgiveness also.”
Valle pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated driving under the influence and a charge of reckless homicide.
Spokesmen for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said five other aggravated DUI counts were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
In exchange for the plea, Cook County Judge Brian Flaherty imposed a six-year prison sentence. Valle could have received up to 14 years if found guilty of all criminal counts.
Garza said Flaherty took into account Valle’s physical condition. Garza would not specify what his condition is.
“We were concerned about medical issues. We want to make sure that those will be addressed while he is in prison.”
Valle was not forced to resign his post even though he faced criminal charges. He retired from office in May when his term expired.
Municipal officials said at the time of the crash it would be wrong to forcibly remove Valle from office because he was an elected official.
Village President Eugene Williams refused further comment Tuesday.
Criminal proceedings against Valle lasted nearly three years. The wreck occurred Feb. 4, 2011.
Illinois State Police said Valle was driving north in the southbound lanes of Ill. 394 in a Lynwood village-owned 2008 Ford Taurus when he collided head-on with an automobile in which Little, 32, of Chicago, was a passenger.
Little's vehicle, a 2000 Chrysler Cirrus, overturned into the center median.
The driver of that vehicle also was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, along with other traffic violations.
Prosecutors have said Valle’s vehicle also struck a 1998 Ford Taurus that was being driven by Little’s husband, Manuel Little, now 40, who was traveling behind the vehicle his wife was in at the time of the crash.
The couple had four daughters, none of whom were involved in the collision.
Rebekkah Little’s family filed a lawsuit against Valle in Cook Circuit Court that is still pending, Garza said.
Valle has been free on $250,000 bond since the wreck.
He surrendered to authorities following the sentencing hearing, and will begin serving his prison sentence immediately, Garza said.