Following DUI charge, suburban high school football coach sidelined for season

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Richmond-Burton High School football coach Patrick Elder won’t be on the sideline this season after being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, but for now still has his job as athletic director, school officials said Friday.

Superintendent Tom Lind said Elder, 44, was not placed on leave at the McHenry County school after he was arrested and charged with DUI on July 15, but he will not be coaching. Lind declined further comment on Elder’s job status.

A Spring Grove police officer spotted Elder’s vehicle swerving and crossing the center line of Illinois Highway 173 just east of Clark Road, according to Spring Grove police Chief Thomas Sanders.

The officer reported a strong smell of alcohol on Elder’s breath and said he was slurring his speech and had red eyes. The officer said Elder, a Spring Grove resident, was unable to keep his balance during the field sobriety test and would not to take a breathalyzer test.

Elder posted $100 and his driver’s license and bonded out of Spring Grove jail. He is set to appear in McHenry County court Aug. 14.

According to local authorities and court records, Elder was convicted of DUI in 1992 and 1995 in downstate McLean County. For the 1995 conviction, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 24 months of probation.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said a third DUI conviction could bring a penalty ranging from probation to a maximum of seven years in prison.

The Illinois secretary of state’s office said Elder’s license will be suspended for a year for not doing the breathalyzer. If he is convicted of DUI, he could lose it for a decade.

Lind said Elder has been with the district for 11 years and would have gone through a background check when he was hired. But Lind, who is in his first year as superintendent, said he didn’t know what that check revealed or how the district weighed that information.

Richmond-Burton High School is located in Richmond, a town just south of the Wisconsin border.


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