Longtime Lynwood official retires with DUI death case still pending

2013-05-18T21:15:00Z 2013-05-19T20:17:12Z Longtime Lynwood official retires with DUI death case still pendingGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 18, 2013 9:15 pm  • 

LYNWOOD | Roy Valle is no longer a government official.

He still has a criminal case pending against him in a 2011 auto crash near Ford Heights that killed a woman. But his term as village clerk in south suburban Lynwood came to an end last week.

Valle chose not to run for re-election in last month’s municipal elections. His decision brought an end to a local political career of 24 years, the last eight as clerk, following four terms as a village trustee.

Valle said people should not presume the charges pending against him are the reason he did not seek another term as village clerk.

“I’m 66 (years old), it’s time to go,” Valle said, in describing his situation as a retirement.

“We need new blood” in Lynwood, he said.

He assessed his own time in political office by saying, “I served three mayors and five or six village boards. It has been an honor, a pleasure and a privilege.”

Valle’s final duties as village clerk were performed Tuesday when he administered the oaths of office to Village President Eugene Williams, three village trustees and his replacement as clerk — Karen Wingfield-Bond.

Even in the moments after he was no longer clerk and seated among meeting spectators, Valle continued to give instructions to Williams about the legal procedures that needed to be followed to make the transition to newly elected officials complete.

Valle, in making final comments before the Village Board, went out of his way to say he was retiring, but had no special plans other than to continue to live in Lynwood.

“My term has ended, and it is time to move the (village) board to another place,” he said.

He thanked the board for the "strong support” it gave him throughout his time in office.

That support included not taking any action to push Valle out of office when he was arrested after the Feb. 4, 2011, crash. Police at the time said Valle was intoxicated while driving a village-owned 2008 Ford Taurus the wrong way on Ill. 394. He collided head-on with a 2000 Chrysler Cirrus, police said.

The Cirrus overturned into the center median, and a passenger, 32-year-old Melikah Little, was killed. Her family has a lawsuit pending against Valle in Cook County Circuit Court. He's also facing charges of reckless homicide and six counts of aggravated driving under the influence in criminal court.

Valle has remained free for the past two years after posting 10 percent of a $250,000 bond. The case has slowly worked its way through the legal process, in part because there have been at least three prosecutors with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office overseeing it at various points of time.

But that may come to an end soon.

Valle’s attorney, Raymond Garza, and Cook County prosecutors held a meeting with Judge Brian Flaherty on Thursday to work out an agreement that could result in Valle pleading guilty.

No agreement was reached that day, but Garza said attorneys will try again when Valle is scheduled to appear June 25 at the 6th District Cook County Circuit Court in Markham.

The crash and pending court cases were not brought up when Valle had his government farewell.

Williams — who described Valle as “a master clerk” who took his job “seriously” — said it's reassuring that Valle does not plan to leave the community.

“We will miss him, and we want to keep him as close to us as possible,” he said.

Village Trustee Willie Sims said he thinks Valle is responsible for the high level at which he believes local government operates.

“He made us cross our T’s and dot our I’s,” Sims said. “He also was responsible for keeping me straight, and my temper down at times.”

All the while, Valle doesn’t specify how he plans to spend his retiring days.

“I don’t know yet,” he said. “I’m just retiring, and trying to figure out for myself what will happen.”

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