Suburban Village Clerk Pleads Not Guilty In Deadly DUI Crash
UPDATED 03/29/11 1:47 p.m.
MARKHAM, Ill. (CBS) — A south suburban village clerk has pleaded not guilty in a drunken driving crash that left a young mother dead.
Roel N. Valle, 64, an employee of the Village of Lynwood, is charged with one count of aggravated DUI involving death and one count of reckless homicide, in connection with the Feb. 4 crash that killed Melikah Little.
He was ordered held on $250,000 bond on Feb. 15, and was indicted last week. On Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty in a hearing at the Markham Courthouse.
About 1:15 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 4, Valle was driving north on in the southbound lanes of Route 394 just south of the Bishop Ford Freeway, Illinois State Police said. His vehicle struck a 2000 Chrysler Cirrus head-on and the impact caused the Chrysler to overturn into the center median.
The passenger in the Chrysler, Melikah Little, was killed instantly. The driver, 27-year-old Angelina Jones of Chicago, was critically injured, police said. Little would have celebrated her 33rd birthday on Feb. 8.
Valle’s vehicle then struck a White 1998 Ford Taurus head-on. That car was driven by Melikah Little’s husband, Manuel L. Little, 37, who was traveling directly behind his wife, the release said.
Valle, of Lynwood, was driving a Black 2008 Ford Taurus owned by the village of Lynwood. Witnesses reported the vehicle traveling the wrong way at Route 394 and U.S. 30, two miles from the crash scene.
Angelina Jones was also charged with misdemeanor DUI and several traffic violations, police said.
Reckless homicide while operating a vehicle carries a punishment of 2-5 years in prison, while DUI causing death is punishable by 3-14 years, according to police.
Valle is due back in court at 9 a.m. May 2.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.