Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson has declined further payment of his monthly $693 driving allowance, citing the end of his own driving due to the gradual progression of macular degeneration in his eyes.
He said that medical condition is the direct cause of his decision, and not his February vehicle collision on Schaumburg Road for which he later pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of an accident and the traffic offense of improper lane usage.
But the 78-year-old Larson acknowledged that he's barely driven since then and has already sold his car.
Larson said that as long as he's been mayor, Schaumburg's municipal code has provided a car allowance to defray the costs of the village president's travel related to his or her duties.
He added that he suspected the original intention may also have been to supplement the village president's pay. But the allowance is earmarked for car travel and it's on that basis that he's turning it down.
In his Sept. 18 letter to village administration, Larson wrote, "I understand that I may elect to decline to receive the car allowance at any time. Therefore, I hereby elect to decline to receive this allowance."
The letter further asks that this change be made before the next payment date on Sept. 29. Village Manager Brian Townsend said he's directed that this be done.
With travel implied as part of the village president and liquor commissioner's duties by the existence of the car allowance, Larson said he's been coping with the end of his own driving with some difficulty.
"It's challenging sometimes, but people help out," he said.
At about 6:40 p.m. on Feb. 23, Larson was turning from northbound Pleasant Drive onto westbound Schaumburg Road in the village when he struck an eastbound vehicle driven by a 42-year-old Schaumburg woman, police said at the time.
No injuries resulted and both cars were drivable.
Larson later told police he drove west after the collision and pulled into the Schaumburg Post Office parking lot to await the other driver. When she didn't appear, he drove home. Police arrived at his door several minutes later and took him to the police station, authorities said.
Larson told police he had a glass of wine at dinner before the crash. A breath test registered a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.048 percent, below the legal threshold of 0.08 percent.
In exchange for the guilty plea on his two charges in April, Cook County Judge Ellen Mandletort sentenced Larson to one year of supervision, 40 hours of community service and a $200 fine.