Talk Of The Town

AnnualFilings    If you drive through Trenton, slow down and buckle up. Anybody passing through neighboring Aviston better keep the cell phone on mute.
    Clinton County Circuit Clerk Rod Kloeckner reports his office processed 2,358 traffic citations in 2017, a total that nearly matched the previous year. In 2016, there were 2,379 tickets issued by local, county and state law-enforcement officers.
    “That’s 21 fewer tickets than in 2017,” Kloeckner said. “If you look at the totals through the years, they have been remarkably consistent considering the number of law-enforcement officers we have in the various jurisdictions. It’s always in the 2,300 to 2,400 neighborhood.”
    Traffic tickets derive from the 10 local municipalities that have police departments in Clinton County – Carlyle, Breese, Trenton, Aviston, Germantown, New Baden, Albers, Beckemeyer, Centralia and Wamac – along with the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department and the Illinois State Police.
    Kloeckner said each year, certain trends are noticeable. Last year, it was a 10-year high in the number of driving under the influence tickets issued. In 2017, it was the number of speeding and failure to wear seat-belt tickets issued by Trenton and illegal use of an electronic communications device tickets (commonly referred to as “cell phone” tickets) written in Aviston.
    Trenton led all departments with 292 speeding tickets and 54 failure to wear seat-belt tickets. Meanwhile, of the 104 illegal use of an electronic communications device tickets written by all agencies in Clinton County last year, 79 came from Aviston.
    “That’s nearly 44 percent of their tickets,” Kloeckner said. “I would definitely keep the cell phone off my ear if I’m going through Aviston.”
    A cell phone ticket carries a fine of $120.
    Kloeckner said the most cited charge in the county was driving 15-20 mph above the speed limit. Officers wrote 455 tickets for that offense, 121 more than in 2014. The next four most-cited traffic charges were operating an uninsured motor vehicle (367), driving 21-25 mph above the speed limit (235), driving on a suspended license (187) and expired registration (110).


    Following Trenton in the number of speeding tickets issued was the sheriff’s department with 222, the Illinois State Police (128), Aviston (68), Breese (33), New Baden (21), Albers (18), Carlyle (12), Germantown (11) and Centralia (11). 
    Nine individuals were issued tickets for driving 35 mph or over the speed limit. The fastest clocked speed came on November 7, when Jacob R. Gruber of Mascoutah was ticketed by the Trenton Police Department for going 106 mph in a 55-mph zone at new Illinois Route 50 and Illinois Route 160.
    There were 86 driving under the influence tickets written in 2017, 36 fewer than in 2016 when the county experienced a 10-year high. According to statistics gleaned from the circuit clerk’s office, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department issued the most DUIs with 29. The Breese Police Department was next with 17, while Carlyle had 15. 
    Kloeckner said the months of January and May saw the most DUIs written with 13 each, while July had the fewest (two).
    Since 2000, the most traffic tickets written in a single year was 2002, when 5,093 were issued.
    Other traffic notes of interest:
    • Kloeckner said after the top five, the next two most-cited traffic charges were illegal use of an electronic communication device (104) and failure to wear a seat belt by driver and/or passenger (101).
    • Conservation police issued three operating a watercraft under the influence tickets. The most common citation written by conservation officers was fishing without a license (21).
    • Besides Gruber, two other individuals were clocked going 100 mph or more over the speed limit at 101 mph and 100 mph, respectively.
    All told, Kloeckner said his office processed 4,232 filings in all the case categories, 104 fewer than in 2016.  He said 12 of the 23 criminal and civil case categories had an increase in the number of cases filed. The biggest increase was in civil law violations. There were 66 CLs filed, 54 more than last year.
    The main reason for the large jump in civil law violations was the case category went into effect on Sept. 1, 2016. The CL category was created as a result of new legislation that makes possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100-$200. With its enactment, adults no longer face time in jail, and the civil offense will be automatically expunged in order to prevent a permanent criminal record. Those cases used to be filed as misdemeanors, which was a large reason why 102 misdemeanors were filed.
    There were 201 felony (CF) cases filed, the same as in 2016. Other criminal case categories included conservation (CV) with 76 and ordinance violations (OV) with 36.
    Cases filed on the civil side included seven adoptions (AD), 53 chancery (CH), 115 dissolutions (D), 57 family (F), five juvenile (J), 15 juvenile neglect and abuse (JA), 24 juvenile delinquent (JD), 37 law (L), 116 law magistrate (LM), 153 miscellaneous remedy (MR), 133 orders of protection (OP), 60 probate (P), 326 small claim (SC) and 39 tax cases (TX).

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