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Probation, fine for striking Metra conductor 

A Lake County Sheriff's Deputy shows Matthew Padour 31 Libertyville another room after being sentenced Lake County Courthouse for attacking

A Lake County Sheriff's Deputy shows Matthew Padour, 31, of Libertyville to a another room after being sentenced at the Lake County Courthouse for attacking a Metra conductor in April of 2012. The sentencing took place in the courtroom of Judge Raymond Collins at Lake County building in Waukegan. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 15, 2013 2:44AM

A Libertyville man dodged prison time at his sentencing hearing for “sucker punching” a Metra conductor in the first Lake County case which had cameras in the courtroom.

Matthew Padour, 31, could have spent up to five years in prison for his aggravated battery conviction.

Instead, Judge Raymond Collins sentenced Padour to 24 months of felony probation, six months periodic imprisonment, perform 150 hours of public serve and pay $2,587 in restitution to Metra.

Padour was ordered to continue with substance abuse treatment, attend anger management treatment and is not allowed to ride on Metra trains. He will also pay a $500 fine. He will spend six months in Lake County sheriff’s custody and will only be allowed to leave periodic imprisonment for work, court or probation obligations, Collins said.

“I did not feel that straight probation was a significant enough sentence for you to break this pattern. You have the opportunity to change your life,” Collins told Padour.

Padour and a friend had literally drank away their last dime at the Cubs opener April 5, 2012, Assistant State’s Attorney Jim Newman said. Padour had to borrow money from a friend to get train fare home. His friend was unable to borrow fare money when the Metra conductor attempted to collect their fares, Newman said.

Padour “engaged” the 59-year-old Metra conductor with a “verbal barrage before what became a sucker punch,” Newman said.

“Sometimes, it takes one punch in the wrong location to cause great bodily harm. The (Metra conductor) was not looking when he was punched. Blessedly, (he) had his hat knocked off ... and a cracked tooth,” Newman said.

He asked Collins to consider giving Padour a “significant amount of time” in jail to help deter others.

The Metra conductor also asked Collins to give Padour jail time and counseling.

“I believe physical assaults (against Metra conductors) seems to be going up ... Mr. Padour and others need to know this kind of behavior will not be tolerated,” the Metra conductor said.

Padour’s attorney, Frank Himel, asked Collins to give his client probation and keep jail time in mind if Padour “messes up.” Padour reports sobriety for two months, Himel said. Padour also obtained work at a Waukegan car wash, Himel said.

Collins said he considered Padour’s criminal history. The Metra aggravated battery was Padour’s first felony conviction, but Padour has a history of other alcohol-related offenses going back to 2006.

Collins also said he considered the fact that Padour’s brother was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Libertyville about three years ago. Padour may be “self-medicating” with alcohol and drugs, Collins said.

Padour is due back in court July 17 for status on his probation. He is due in court April 18 for his pending DUI.

Padour was on bond for the aggravated battery when he was arrested in Waukegan for driving under the influence on July 22, 2012. His blood-alcohol content was .22, above the legal .08 limit, Newman said.

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