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Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Prison term looms for Onarga man

An Iroquois County jury convicted an Onarga man of a Class X felony. 47-year-old Jose Villanueava faces up to 10 years in prison when he's sentenced for predatory criminal sexual assault.

State's Attorney Jim Devine said Villanueva faces a minimum of 10 years.

Two victims were abused by the defendant, one just 8 years old at the time of the crime in 2006. The victims had reported the abuse back then but family members didn't believe them. Sheriff's Police and the DCFS were involved in the investigation.

Sentencing is set for November 19th.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Paxton motorist charged with DUI with child in car

A 23-year-old Paxton man is facing an aggravated DUI charge for allegedly driving erratically with a 2-year-old child in his vehicle.

Kyle Smith was charged Tuesday with aggravated driving under the influence and aggravated driving under the influence with a suspended driver's license.

Police reported stopping Smith's car after seeing him driving erratically near U.S. 136 and U.S. 45 early Sunday. Police said Smith failed a field sobriety test. Passengers in the car included a 21-year-old and a two-year-old child.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Ford County kidnapping, armed robbery plea

A Paxton man and Loda man have each entered guilty pleas to armed robbery and kidnapping charges. Both men admitted to their roles in the abduction, beating and robbery of a Paxton businessman last December.

25-year-old Rodolfo Cerritos of Paxton and 25-year-old Evigan Marcos of Loda will be sentenced December 1. They face 6 - 30 years in prison for armed robbery and 3 - 7 years for kidnapping.
Cerritos and Marcos are the second and third defendants to plead guilty in connection with last December's crime against businessman Joel Hastings.

23-year-old Eduardo Samano of Berwyn, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and was sentenced to three years of probation and 180 days in the county jail.

Charges against 43-year-old Manuel Santoyo were dropped.

Santoyo was ordered to pay $8,466 in restitution to Hastings and his family. The court order was also to apply to Marcos and Cerritos if they were convicted.

Police had said the men forced Hastings into his car, restrained him, and beat him with a gun and baseball bat as they drove him around Ford and Iroquois counties. The kidnappers released Hastings if he agreed to pay $50,000.

Arrests were made following a multijurisdictional investigation that included assistance by the FBI.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Iroquois County Board OK’s reducing 911 Board, withdraws from Ford-Iroquois LEPC

There was little fanfare and public input didn't matter. The Iroquois County Board, with five exceptions, gave the usual head nods and OK'd a committee report to reduce the size of the 911 Board and also to withdraw from the Ford-Iroquois Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).

The 14-5 vote was directed by County Board Chairman Rod Copas to cut the membership of the 911 Board in half (12 to 6). Copas also sold his plan to withdraw from the 2-county LEPC, saying he believes Iroquois County can better manage planning for emergencies on its own.

Voting against the County Board's action were Dale Schultz, Jed Whitlow, Donna Crow, Susan Wynn Bence and Jean Hiles.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Iroquois citizens tired of mean-spirited leadership

               Chairman's comments, accusations out of line ?

Public input just may be the best thing on the agenda for Tuesday's (10-14) Iroquois County Board meeting. The 9 o'clock meeting is the Administrative Center in Watseka.

A public outburst is what many believe is needed to put a stop to what several emergency responders say is a "crash & burn agenda."

Volunteer professionals serving on governing boards are expressing their disgust in being labeled as "incompetent, neglecting their duties, mismanaging their responsibilities."

That was the accusation from County Board Chairman Rod Copas about the former Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department. Now, it's the 9-1-1- Board under fire. Copas has pointed to "mismanagement" and 911 members "unwilling to work with the County Board.

Several members of the boards and emergency responders take exception with the accusation that they're neglectful or mismanaging their duties.

Some say it's impossible to work with someone with a "seek and destroy agenda."

94.1 WGFA