Charges stand against man who landed plane on golf course

  • Robert Kadera

    Robert Kadera

Published: 8/16/2008 12:05 AM | Updated: 8/16/2008 7:09 AM

A Lake County judge on Friday refused to dismiss the criminal charges against a Lake Villa Township man accused of landing his plane on a Lincolnshire golf course.

Robert Kadera, 65, is charged with reckless conduct and endangering the life or health of a child in the March 1 incident.

Police say Kadera landed his Piper PA-16 Clipper on the 7th fairway of the Crane's Landing Golf Course at Marriott's Lincolnshire Resort.

He told police he wanted to get his 14-year-old son to a tennis lesson at the Lincolnshire Bath and Tennis Club, across Route 22 from the golf course.

Buffalo Grove attorney Judith Bethge told Associate Judge Charles Johnson the charges against her client were too vague to be constitutional.

She also claimed there was no evidence that by landing his plane on the golf course Kadera had done anything to endanger his son.

"He may have made a bad choice, but as parent's we all do stupid things," Bethge said. "Not all of them are criminal."

But Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Lauren Walker argued the charges against Kadera met all legal requirements for specificity.

She also said the area in which Kadera's plane landed was about 30 feet from Route 22, 27 feet from a 10-foot tall concrete wall and surrounded by power lines.

"This was a pre-planned event that endangered his child," Walker said. "If he had chosen to land at an airport, we would not be here today."

Johnson upheld the charges, saying he found no defect in the charges against Kadera that would warrant their dismissal.

"The fact that you argue that they may not be able to prove their charges does not warrant their dismissal," he told Bethge. "That will depend on the evidence at trial."

Bethge has also filed a motion seeking to suppress any statements made by Kadera because he was illegally placed under arrest.

Lincolnshire police officer Brian Bilinski testified he asked Kadera for his pilot's license, log book and health certificate at the golf course, and Kadera refused to give it to him.

Bilinski said he took Kadera to the police station for questioning, but said he told Kadera he was not under arrest and asked for his help in the investigation.

Once at the station, Bilinski said he read Kadera his Miranda rights, and Kadera refused to answer any questions.

Testimony in that motion is expected to continue Sept. 12.

If convicted, Kadera faces up to one year in jail.