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Suburban city manager under investigation in hit-and-run

Southwest suburb Oak Lawn placed its city manager on administrative leave days after a hit-and-run crash in which he was apparently the driver. Village Manager Larry Deetjen is accused in a hit-and-run that left a 48-year-old man with critical injuries.

The Oak Lawn Village Board placed Deetjen on paid leave pending the outcome of a police investigation in neighboring Chicago Ridge. The victim is from Worth, a village immediately southwest of Chicago Ridge.

According to law enforcement officials, witnesses told investigators that the car that struck the victim and then sped off was marked as an official Oak Lawn vehicle. The car was later found at an Oak Lawn home and Deetjen was identified as the driver.

A Chicago Ridge police spokesperson said Deetjen is cooperating with investigators.

A Chicago Ridge police lieutenant said there’s “no indication” that Deetjen was drinking at the time of the crash and that they do not suspect that he was impaired by drugs either.

Seventy-year-old Deetjen told investigators that he thought he had struck something in the road, but because traffic did not stop after the collision on that rainy night, he decided to keep going.

According to the lieutenant, Deetjen was “distressed” to hear about the severe injuries to the man. “He’s regretful about what happened,” the officer said of Deetjen.

According to a news report, no criminal charges have yet been filed in the case.

However, it makes sense in similar situations for those under investigation to speak to a criminal defense attorney before talking to prosecutors or law enforcement officials. In that way, you can ensure that your rights are observed and that you do not accidentally make statements that can be construed as self-incriminating.

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Darryl A. Goldberg
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