Severe flooding has closed the DuPage County courthouse in Wheaton, delaying the start of a triple-murder trial that was set to begin today.
State's Attorney Bob Berlin said jurors slated to hear testimony in the high-profile Johnny Borizov case were notified of the delay early this morning.
“Hopefully it will be business as usual tomorrow,” Berlin said. “The problem is it's supposed to keep raining all day.”
Officials said flooded parking lots and roads on the county campus at Manchester and County Farm Roads made it nearly impossible for travelers to access the courthouse, as well as the health department and other government buildings there, which also were closed.
“It looks like we're in upper Wisconsin or southwest Michigan,” said John Elsner, chief judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit in DuPage.
Elsner said all judicial matters were extended by court order for an additional business day. Some employees remained at the courthouse and were working.
This is the first time the county campus has been closed since a severe snowstorm in February 2011.
“Before that, I don't recall it ever closing because of weather,” said Berlin, who has worked in the state's attorney's office for nine years.
Berlin said a bomb threat in 2007 shut down the courthouse but only for a few hours.
County spokeswoman Johnna Kelly said county buildings would reopen “when conditions allow.”
DuPage County has received 4 to 5 inches of rainfall since Wednesday, and 1 to 2 more inches were forecast for Thursday.
The county deployed more than 39,000 sandbags to municipalities, and more than 25 people had sought refuge at the county's emergency shelter at Benedictine University in Lisle, officials said.
The county was operating all 15 of its flood control facilities, including Fawell Dam in Naperville and, Spring Creek Reservoir in Bloomingdale and the Wood Dale-Itasca Reservoir.
“We are working with our municipal partners to help alleviate the situation for our residents,” DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation and assist residents during this unprecedented flooding event.”
Even if the courthouse reopens Friday, officials said the Borizov trial likely will be postponed until Tuesday.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.