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LaSalle County judge charged with DUI

Published: Friday, April 4, 2014 2:44 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 4, 2014 2:47 p.m. CDT

OTTAWA — A LaSalle County judge will appear in court in May on charges of driving under the influence.

Thirteenth Judicial District Circuit Judge Joseph Hettel was charged with DUI on Monday evening in Ottawa, after his vehicle allegedly struck a parked vehicle, which in turn struck a utility pole. He was also charged with improper lane use, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and using a handheld communication device while driving.

He will make his first court appearance May 19 in LaSalle County traffic court before Circuit Judge Daniel Bute.

Hettel issued a statement Wednesday concerning Monday’s charges.

“I sincerely apologize to the citizens of our judicial circuit, my colleagues on the bench, the lawyers who appear before me, my friends and supporters and, in particular, my family,” Hettel said. “I intend to comment further when my traffic case has concluded.”

Hettel, 46, of Ottawa served for six years as the LaSalle County State’s Attorney before being appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court in November 2006 to fill a vacancy created by the appointment of Robert Carter to the Third District Appellate Court.

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