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UPDATE — On April 6 in McLean County Circuit Court, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts. His license is now suspended for one year and he must pay a fine.

Friday, January 29, 2010 — A Maywood man faces up to $10,000 in fines and the revocation of his driver’s license for up to two years, after he failed to reduce his speed or change lanes as he approached emergency vehicles at the scene of an accident, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced.

Celso Arredondo, 56, was charged after he struck a Cook County Sheriff’s vehicle which was on the side of Interstate 55, just outside Normal, on Jan. 20. Two deputies inside the vehicle were en route to Logan Correctional Center, about 40 miles away.

Deputy Eric Withers and his passenger, Deputy George Romero, were southbound on I-55 when they hit a patch of black ice near the 152 mile marker. Their squad car went off the roadway and into the median. A short time later, a tow truck arrived to pull them from the median. The deputies then got back in their vehicle and were parked on the side of the road, with the vehicle’s emergency lights still flashing.

Arredondo, who has a history of citations for traffic violations, was southbound on I-55 and, the officers said, coming at them at a high rate of speed. He approached the squad car from the lane closest to the median and smashed into the rear of the squad car before then also swiping the passenger side of the squad car.

Withers and Romero were taken by ambulance to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal. Both officers sustained a series of injuries, but none life threatening. Neither has been cleared to return to work yet.

Arredondo is charged in McLean County Circuit Court with failure to reduce speed/driving too fast for conditions, and is separately charged with violating Scott’s Law.

Scott’s Law, enacted in 2002, increases penalties against drivers who fail to move over for emergency vehicles. It is named in memory of Chicago Fire Department Lt. Scott Gillen, who was struck and killed by an intoxicated driver while responding to an accident on Interstate 94 in 2000.

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