EAST PEORIA, Ill. — East Peoria Mayor John Kahl is speaking out after the now-former Deputy Police Chief did not receive any criminal charges regarding a lengthy traffic stop in Washington last month.
“A public servant’s conduct is supposed to inspire confidence and trust, and [this] was an epic fail,” said Kahl on WMBD News at 4 p.m. “I understand why people are upset, and they should be.”
Earlier this week, Tazewell County State’s Attorney Stu Umholtz said Sgt. Chad Lacost was to be cited with a petty offense and an accompanying fine of $150. On Nov. 23, a Washington police officer pulled him over for allegedly crossing over the center line of traffic and going 10 mph over the speed limit.
The officer cited Lacost with obstruction and speeding, but not operating a vehicle while intoxicated, though he “admitted to drinking ‘several beers’ and slurred his speech” when talking to the officer.
An officer continued asking Lacost to get out of his vehicle, and he refused. The officer that pulled Lacost over said he had questions for him, to which Lacost reportedly responded, “Seriously?”
Lacost was not asked to take a breathalyzer.
Kahl waited for Umholtz to make public remarks before expressing his sentiments, and said it’s “unfortunate this situation took place.” He called the situation “inexcusable.”
“I tried to be respectful of Stu [Umholtz] because, quite honestly, his hands were tied behind his back in this whole incident,” Kahl said. “A lot of things could have been handled differently.”
Umholtz told WMBD he was frustrated with the whole ordeal calling it an “utter disappointment,” and said there was not enough evidence from dashcam footage to charge Lacost with anything other than disobeying a police officer.
Ultimately, East Peoria Police Chief Steve Roegge was contacted that night and convinced Lacost to exit the vehicle. When Roegge arrived at the traffic stop, he got into Lacost’s car and drove him home. Lacost was put on paid leave and took a step down in the department, going back to the sergeant position.
As of Thursday, Kahl had not spoken to Lacost, which the mayor called “disappointing in itself, but nonetheless he is not longer in a command position.”
When asked if Lacost resigning his post and a fine are enough, Kahl said, “that’s a good question.”
“It’s going to have to be enough for today.”