Kaneland teacher fights DUI arrest, sues police
A Kaneland science teacher has filed a federal lawsuit against Carpentersville police and the village, alleging he was thrashed around in the back of a squad car after a July 4, 2010 arrest during a "No Refusal" weekend in Kane County.
Ryan Wlodek, 33, of the 9N700 block of Tipi Lane in Elgin. argues that after he was handcuffed following a driving under the influence of alcohol arrest, no one put a seat belt on him and two different officers purposefully sped up, braked and made sharp turns at high speeds, according to the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, Wlodek's criminal defense attorney also wants the case dismissed because the police failed to turn over a video of the arrest and then the department's computers crashed, thus depriving his client of potential evidence that proves his innocence, according to court records.
"He's a good kid," said defense attorney J. Brick Van der Snick. "He wasn't combative. He wasn't argumentative. He wasn't being an idiot."
Carpentersville Police Cmdr. and spokesman Timothy Bosshart said he could not comment on the matter because it is pending litigation.
A message left with the Carpentersville village attorney James Rhodes was not returned.
Wlodek was arrested at about 2:45 a.m. July 4, 2010, after a traffic stop at Route 25 near Route 68.
The federal lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages for false arrest and excessive force, argues that Carpentersville Police Officer Matthew Lipke purposefully drove aggressively while transporting Wlodek to the Carpentersville police station, and repeatedly stated that Wlodek had refused to take an alcohol test when he had not refused.
The suit also argues that Carpentersville Police Officer Donald Wells also repeated the same aggressive driving pattern on the way to the Elgin Police Department. Wlodek also says he was having trouble breathing, was denied his asthma inhaler and that Wells struck him in the groin while being frisked after Wlodek returned to the Carpentersville station after treatment at Sherman Hospital in Elgin.
Wlodek's attorney in the federal case, David Lipschultz, said he could not comment on the matter until his client's criminal case was resolved.
In a "No Refusal" event, the Kane County state's attorney's office has prosecutors stationed at local police departments along with a phlebotomist and a judge on call. If a motorist is arrested and refuses to give a breath test, prosecutors will ask a judge to issue a search warrant to have a blood draw.
Van der Snick said his client, an eighth-grade science teacher at Harter Middle School, is fighting an obstruction of justice charge, a felony that someone can face if they refuse chemical tests after a DUI arrest.
Van der Snick says Wlodek never was offered a breath test at the arrest scene and his blood was never drawn. He said his client is afraid of needles and germs and wanted his blood drawn at a hospital instead of the police station.
He also seeks to have the resisting arrest charges thrown out because he subpoenaed a copy of the squad car videotape of Wlodek's arrest. Carpentersville police turned over a copy, but it didn't work, and then police said their computers crashed and all videos from before September 2010 were lost.
According to a Carpentersville Police report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request, officers smelled a strong odor of alcohol on Wlodek after he was pulled over for speeding and he failed three field sobriety tests.
Van der Snick said Wlodek had a few drinks at a friend's house the night of July 3 and went to sleep. He then woke up to drive home and was stopped by police. "There's a lot of pressure on law enforcement officers to make arrests on a 'No Refusal' weekend and I think that's why (Wlodek) was arrested," he said.
Wlodek is due back in Kane County court July 11.