LAKE STATION — Hobart Township Trustee Thomas D. Silich’s arrest Tuesday on suspicion of impaired driving is not his first.
A Times review of court records indicates he has prior driving violations.
Crown Point police arrested the 63-year-old Hobart man in 2006 and charged him with endangering a person while operating a vehicle while intoxicated as well as speeding.
The details of that arrest are no longer available, but court records indicate Silich pleaded guilty the following year to a reduced charge under a plea agreement with the Lake County Prosecutor’s office.
Crown Point City Judge Kent Jeffirs placed Silich on probation, under the condition Silich undergo alcohol counseling. He satisfactorily completed the program as well as his probation in 2007.
Lake Superior Court records show police stopped Silich in the spring of 2011 for speeding. The prosecutor dismissed the speeding ticket under the terms of another plea agreement on condition Silich maintain a clean driving record for another year.
The prosecutor charged Silich in 2014 with a seat belt violation, but dismissed that count two months later that same year.
Whether Lake Station police and the prosecutor will file any new charges against Silich remains uncertain.
Lake Station police stopped Silich outside his home in the 3800 block of Roche Street in Hobart Township late Tuesday morning for speeding and unsafe lane movement.
Police said Silich failed a field sobriety test and then refused to perform a breath test for alcohol.
Police obtained a court warrant requiring Silich to give a blood sample at a local hospital. It was forwarded to a state laboratory for further analysis.
Police said Silich told officers he was taking pills for a medical condition.
Silich, a lifelong Democrat, has served as Hobart Township trustee since his first election in 2010. He administers poor relief to township residents in need.
Silich would face voters again in the spring 2022 Democratic primary if he runs for another term in office.
Jim Wieser, chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, reacted Wednesday to Silich’s arrest.
“It’s disappointing when any public official is alleged to have been driving while impaired.
“It is important to take a step back and wait to see the determination of this case. I will probably give Tom a call and ask him to explain the circumstances,” Wieser said.
Wieser said he spoke to Silich earlier this year and Silich said he is under care for persistent pain.
Joe Clemmons, president of the Hobart Township Board, which sets policy for the township, said this week the three-member board will meet in the near future to discuss Silich’s arrest.
Clemmons said one thing the board may address is strengthening the township’s policy on the use of public vehicles.
He said disciplinary measure on the misuse of township vehicles is currently too vague.