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Local

Braidwood mayor facing DUI charge drove drunk in 2008

Braidwood Mayor Bob Jones’ November 2019 arrest on a charge of driving under the influence wasn’t his first.

On Nov. 25, 2008, Jones was charged with two counts of DUI, according to Will County court records. He pleaded guilty to one count while the second was dropped and was sentenced to a year of court supervision and ordered to undergo alcoholism treatment and pay $1,250 in fines.

The 58-year-old mayor now faces another DUI charge after his Nov. 24, 2019, arrest.

State troopers responded that day to a three-car crash near Wilmington, according to the Illinois State Police.

Jones failed to respond to several calls on Jan. 3 and Jan. 6 to his city office and his Braidwood restaurant, Jones-Eez Bar-B-Que. His attorney, Eugene Fimbianti, also failed to respond to a call for comment.

Former Braidwood Mayor James Vehrs, who Jones defeated in April 2019, said that if he was arrested on a DUI charge, he would step down because “when you’re mayor, you have to live to a higher standard.”

“Having this over his head, I don’t think he’s representing the town very well,” Vehrs said.

Fay Smith, the Braidwood commissioner of streets and public improvement, said he doesn’t know whether Jones should step down. He said he’s heard from other people in the city who feel Jones should resign.

“I stand, above all, for taxpayers and upholding the law,” Smith said.

Wayne Saltzman, the Braidwood commissioner of finance, failed to respond to calls Jan. 6.

A state police DUI report on Jones’ Nov. 24, 2019, arrest alleged he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, “showed signs of impairment” and “admitted to consuming alcohol.” The report also alleged Jones refused to take a preliminary breath test.

Jones was not injured in the crash, but two female passengers in his car suffered minor injuries, police said. The driver of the car Jones struck was hospitalized for minor injuries, while the occupants of the third car were not injured, police said.

In Jones’ 2008 DUI case, a Braidwood police report said he had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, admitted to drinking and failed a sobriety test twice.

Vehrs said Jones may want to consider if resigning is the best thing for the residents of Braidwood.

“If he loses his license, how is he going to get around town and represent the city?” Vehrs said.

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