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Jim Simmons

Jim Simmons

CROWN POINT — An attorney for a Winfield Town Council member accused of hitting a landscaper with a vehicle in 2017 said Tuesday he and prosecutors might resolve the case without going to trial.

Jim Simmons, 56, was indicted by a grand jury in June 2018 on felony charges of battery with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury. He pleaded not guilty.

Simmons appeared in court Tuesday with defense attorney Paul Stracci, who said the parties were close to an agreement following a meeting with Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Daniel Burke and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Barb McConnell.

After court, Stracci said cases can be resolved in a variety of ways. In general, a defendant may plead guilty as charged, plead guilty to an amended charge or enter a deferred prosecution agreement that calls for charges to be dismissed after the defendant successfully meets certain conditions for a period of time. A case also could simply be dismissed, he said.

Stracci asked Lake Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell for another court date as Simmons considers his options. 

Boswell set Simmons' next hearing for July 2.

Simmons is accused of striking Gary landscaper James Ballard with a vehicle Sept. 27, 2017, after a dispute in the 5200 block of 105th Lane in Winfield.

Ballard's attorney, Roy Dominguez, filed a civil lawsuit against Simmons on his client's behalf in October. That lawsuit remains pending.

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Public Safety Reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.