Hillcrest football coach charged with DUI
BY CASEY TONER firstname.lastname@example.org June 20, 2013 4:34PM
Updated: July 22, 2013 7:00PM
Hillcrest High School varsity football coach Earnest Sutton, who also is a dean at the Country Club Hills school, is facing drunken-driving charges after Homewood police found him passed out in his car earlier this month, according to police.
Sutton, 46, of the 1200 block of Oakmont Drive, Flossmoor, was charged with marijuana possession, drunken driving, no insurance, and improper parking on a roadway June 10, police said.
Sutton, who graduated in 1985 from Bremen High School — which like Hillcrest is in Bremen Community High School District 228 — took over as football coach at Hillcrest in 1999 and has worked as a dean of compliance the past four years, according to the school website.
The Markham native also founded a popular annual football clinic for children in 2000, which has gained the support of former National Football League star Rodney Harrison among other professional football players.
Traffic and court records show Sutton has been charged with driving under the influence twice in the past. He was charged with driving under the influence in Markham in 2000, and last June was charged with drunken driving, marijuana possession, parking on the roadway and obstructing traffic at 14th Place and Fairview Avenue in Chicago Heights.
It was unknown Thursday how those cases were resolved.
Sutton was charged this time after he was found “slumped” in his car at 2:39 a.m. June 10 at 183rd Street and Kedzie Avenue, police said. Sutton was sleeping in his car, which was parked in the curb lane, but he woke up when police approached him, police said. When asked to show his driver’s license, Sutton “was confused and could not locate his wallet,” police said. They said Sutton’s breath smelled of alcohol, his speech was slurred, and he had “red, glassy eyes.”
Sutton told police he was drinking earlier in the day, according to police reports. When police told him to exit his car, he had to put his left arm on his car to maintain his balance as he walked, police said.
Police said Sutton failed a field sobriety test and was carrying 2.4 grams of marijuana when he was arrested. He also had 2.2 grams of marijuana in his car, they said.
Sutton is next due in court Thursday at the Cook County courthouse in Markham.
District 228 Supt. Bill Kendall said he had heard about Sutton’s arrest, but he hadn’t verified all of the allegations.
“We’re going to look at it and verify everything and do what’s appropriate,” Kendall said, adding that he wouldn’t comment on personnel issues.
Sutton’s voice mail at Hillcrest High School said he was on summer break and would not return to school until Aug. 19.
Reached on his cell phone, Sutton said he couldn’t talk because he was in a doctor’s office.
“Right now, it’s a mistaken identity,” Sutton said. “They charged me with something and I haven’t gone to court or anything about it.”
Hillcrest’s football team was 1-8 last season, winning its final game to snap a 26-game losing streak over nearly three full seasons.