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Prosecutors formally drop felony DUI case against son of former Bears coach Mike Ditka

The felony case against the son of former Bears coach Mike Ditka, Michael P. Ditka, was formally dropped today by prosecutors after a Lake County judge refused to reconsider his ruling that had thrown out much of the evidence in the case.

It had been Michael P. Ditka’s fourth arrest for DUI.

Ditka, 49, was arrested on April 20 and charged with DUI after authorities said a police officer approached him while he was sitting in a black Hummer in the parking lot of his Deerfield housing complex.

The officer said he asked Ditka to exit the vehicle after he smelled a strong odor of alcohol, according to a police report, and a preliminary breath test indicated that Ditka’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.189 percent, more than twice the legal limit in Illinois.

The charge was later upgraded to a felony because Ditka had two previous DUI charges against him in Lake County, court and police records show.

Judge Brian Hughes ruled last week that when the officer approached Ditka’s vehicle, it was not “consensual” and that Ditka’s arrest was not “constitutionally reasonable,” because the officer had no reason to believe that the defendant had committed a crime.

Today, Assistant State’s Atty. Robert Money asked Hughes to reconsider his ruling, which Hughes denied.

“Everything from that moment (the arrest) forward was suppressed, so the state doesn’t have the ability to proceed with the charges,” Money said.

Money said he respected the court’s decision, even though it meant that Ditka would not face any charges for his fourth DUI, which could have meant up to seven years in prison. He also said the fact that Ditka is the son of the famed former Chicago Bears football coach was not a factor.

“I don’t believe it has anything to do with his celebrity status,” Money said.

Ditka’s brother, Mark Ditka, also of Deerfield, is due in court on March 7 for his third DUI charge. He was charged following a September traffic stop.

 

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