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Mayor: I am humbled and embarrassed
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Published: 6/25/2010 12:00 AM

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Statement from Mayor Craig B. Johnson, released Thursday:

I am aware of the public comments being made regarding my son's arrest and questions arising from the arrest process. I want to explain the facts to help restore that trust.

During the early morning hours of June 18, 2010, my son, Craig Johnson, Jr. left the scene of an accident on private property. In no uncertain terms, my son was absolutely wrong to do so.

My family and I are grateful that nobody was hurt in the accident. Moreover, we are very sorry that innocent people's cars and property were damaged by my son. We want everyone to know that my son will be held fully accountable for his actions and he will take full responsibility for his poor judgment.

As Mayor of Elk Grove Village, I am personally ashamed that my 22-year-old son took such an irresponsible action as leaving the scene of an accident. Moreover, my family and I are embarrassed by my son's lack of good judgment. We have tried to teach him to act responsibly. In this case, he failed us.

Every parent raises their child as best they can. My son is now an adult. He makes his own decisions and I trust that he makes good decisions. Obviously, that was not the case on June 18.

Please be assured that I want my son to be held accountable for his poor decision. Taking responsibility for your actions is part of growing and maturing to adulthood. This is an important lesson for any person - never leave the scene of an accident.

There have been stories circulating that the accident was the result of my son being intoxicated, and that fear of a DUI caused him to leave the scene of the accident. However, I want everyone to know that my son was at home around 10:30 p.m. on the evening of the accident, over four hours prior to the accident, and there was no alcohol present in my home during that time. Yes, my 22-year-old son had some beers at the RotaryFest prior to his returning to my home.

Unfortunately, my son had an accident in a private parking lot. He compounded the problem when he left the scene of the accident. The police arrived at my home to arrest my son shortly after the accident. Upon the police arriving at my home, I immediately advised the two arresting officers to "do what you have to do." I wanted the officers to feel comfortable knowing that they had my full support to handle the situation in an appropriate manner.

Following the visit to my home and questioning by police officers, my son voluntarily admitted that he was the driver in the accident and he submitted himself for arrest. He was arrested and charged with two ordinance violations: First, for leaving the scene of an accident with no injuries; and second, for failing to report property damage. My understanding is that this is how accidents on private property are handled by Police when someone leaves the scene of an accident that has no injuries.

My son will appear in court on these two charges. An independent judge will decide his legal fate. His insurance company will cover the private property damage caused during the accident.

Despite allegations that my son should have charged with a DUI, never once on June 18 did I have any communication with the Police Chief, Deputy Chief or anyone at the Village about my son's accident or arrest, other than my initial conversation with the arresting officers. Frankly, I was so ashamed by my son's actions, and so embarrassed by my son's arrest, that I could not have spoken with anybody about this.

When the Police Officers arrived at my home to question my son, the officers closely observed his behavior for impairment. My son had clear speech; his eyes were normal; he walked appropriately down the stairs. There was no indication of drug or alcohol impairment.

Moreover, my understanding from reading the Police Reports, while some statements are inconsistent, no witnesses indicated what alcohol was involved in the accident.

I believe the Police Officers realized that they were not investigating a DUI, but were investigating a hit-and-run accident on private property. The arresting officers felt that my son was not impaired by alcohol and they subsequently chose not to administer a breathalyzer. That was the arresting officer's choice based upon their observations of no alcohol impairment.

In closing, all Police Officers pride themselves on operating with honesty and integrity. I, too, hold the integrity of government in the highest esteem and I value the trust that the people have placed in me as Mayor.

I have been mayor for over 13 years and I have never experienced such pain. My hope is that this letter will shed additional understanding on the incident and maintain the faith and trust that people have placed in me as Mayor. I want everyone to be rest assured that my son as, and will be held, fully responsible for his actions on June 18.

As a father and a parent, I am humbled by my son's accident and embarrassed by this actions. I am grateful that nobody was hurt. I am sorry that my son made a poor decision and, as Mayor, I apologize that his actions may cause some people to hold our local government in lower esteem. However, after explaining the issues, I believe we can now move forward together for the betterment of the Elk Grove community.

Thank you,

Mayor Craig B. Johnson