Lake Zurich cop pleads guilty to reckless driving
BY LAURA PAVIN SPECIAL TO THE NEWS-SUN February 21, 2013 8:22PM
Updated: March 23, 2013 6:17AM
LAKE ZURICH — A Lake Zurich police officer has agreed to work under a “last chance employment agreement” in response to charges that he caused an alcohol-related crash while in possession of a loaded gun last September, police officials said Wednesday.
McHenry Deputy Police Chief John Birk confirmed that Lake Zurich police officer Vincent TeRonde was arrested at 10:23 p.m. Sept. 21 and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol on the 3600 block of West Elm Street in McHenry. He also was cited for operating an uninsured motor vehicle and illegal lane use.
TeRonde, 47, later pleaded guilty to reckless driving, said Robin Shetley, chief deputy of McHenry County Circuit Court.
She reported that the terms of TeRonde’s sentence include paying a $2,295 fine, serving one year of suspension, participating in a victim-impact panel and attending DUI school.
According to police, TeRonde was off duty at the time of the incident. A Lake Zurich Police Department internal investigation found that he and a colleague drank beer and ate food after work that day at Arlington Park Racetrack before visiting restaurants in Buffalo Grove and Long Grove.
The colleague reported that TeRonde appeared sober when he dropped him off at Lake Zurich police headquarters around 10 p.m., Lake Zurich Deputy Chief Kevin Finlon said.
Finlon confirmed TeRonde was also accused of possessing his loaded service weapon, which violates policy.
The terms of his new employment agreement became effective Jan. 11, the same time his 30-day unpaid suspension began, and it will run until September 2015.
“A last chance agreement is given when that individual is worthy of consideration,” Finlon said. “It sets up some very strict rules in regards to if this behavior should ever reoccur.”
TeRonde, a 23-year department veteran, has been a quality officer and has contributed to the Marines Toys for Tots program, Finlon said.
Finlon added that maintaining the public’s safety was the number one priority throughout the investigation and ensuing decision-making process.
“He was held accountable,” Finlon said.