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Deetjen avoids injury in Palos Park accident



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Updated: January 18, 2014 6:34AM

Oak Lawn village manager Larry Deetjen was involved in a minor one-car accident in Palos Park Thursday night, driving a village-owned vehicle into a ditch on the east side of Southwest Highway, just south of Illinois 83, according to police.

Deetjen and his wife were not injured, police said, and a witness to the accident, a 16-year-old boy, called police.

Deetjen arranged for a ride home and called the Oak Lawn Public Works Department, which towed the 2000 Ford Crown Victoria back to Oak Lawn, Palos Park Police Chief Joe Miller said.

He said no charges were filed against Deetjen for leaving the scene of an accident.

“It’s not uncommon when someone goes into a ditch to call their own tow. The car was not obstructing the roadway. He didn’t think it required any intervention from us and knew (Oak Lawn) public works would respond,” Miller said.

He said Deetjen called him about 11 p.m., about two hours after the accident, to report it, and no further investigation is planned.

“We have no indication at all there was any alcohol (involved),” Miller said.

In an email reply Monday evening to a reporter’s questions regarding the incident, Deetjen called it a “non-issue.”

“I miscalculated a turn on Southwest Highway and got stuck in a snow/ice-covered shoulder. I attempted to rock the car out to no avail and only slipped into a storm drainage swale area. (There was) zero damage to car; no other vehicles nor injuries involved,” Deetjen wrote. “Because I was working and our night maintenance crew were still on duty, they were called to pull the vehicle out and bring it back to Village Hall. That has happened before when the vehicle has broken down.”

Oak Lawn Trustee Bob Streit (3rd) arrived at the Palos Park police station about 9:15 p.m. Saturday, seeking copies of the accident report, police said. Streit told police that he had been called by several Oak Lawn emergency dispatchers and was seeking “justice” and to make sure the report did not “disappear.”

The village board recently outsourced the jobs of 20 dispatchers to a private company at Deetjen’s recommendation.

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