Man charged with threatening Lincoln-Way officials once had promising future
By Susan DeMar Lafferty firstname.lastname@example.org December 20, 2012 5:12PM
Updated: January 22, 2013 6:28AM
At one time, Ryan Gardner was considered a well-respected Lincoln-Way Central High School teacher with a good future, but since his dismissal from the school, he has been in and out of court and mental health facilities, according to the state’s attorney’s office in downstate Vermilion County.
Gardner, 40, of Danville, recently admitted himself into the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago, and now faces felony charges of telephone harassment in Will County after he threatened Lincoln-Way Deputy Supt. Thomas Eddy on Dec. 6, according to the Will County state’s attorney’s office.
He previously made threats to Lincoln-Way officials on three other occasions over the years, said Chuck Pelkie, spokesman for the Will County state’s attorney’s office.
“The problem is the woeful state of the mental health system in Illinois,” Vermilion County State’s Attorney Randy Brinegar said.
People, like Gardner, are admitted to mental health facilities for treatment, are given medications and are released, with no follow up, he said.
“There is no mechanism in place to make sure they stay on track and remain a non-threat,” he said. “That’s what I’m frustrated with.”
Brinegar said he is now reviewing a complaint filed by Gardner’s father on Dec. 16 regarding his son’s “bizarre behavior.” Gardner lives with his parents.
In that instance Gardner was transported to a local hospital for evaluation and released, he said.
“I’m not dealing with a criminal act, but a mental health issue,” Brinegar said.
In 2010, Gardner was charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, according to Vermilion County court records.
He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and successfully completed probation.
In 2009, a charge of criminal trespass to a residence was dismissed as part of a plea agreement on a drunk driving charge against Gardner, Brinegar said.
Gardner was twice charged with drunken driving, in 2007 and 2008, he said.
He pleaded guilty to resisting police in 2005, served 40 days in county jail, and completed a year on probation, Brinegar said.
In 2003 and 2008, Gardner was involuntary admitted to a mental health facility, Brinegar said.
Gardner was a vocational education teacher at Lincoln-Way Central from 1996 to 2003 and was tapped to be department chair in 2001.