Lynwood Clerk Roel Valle was charged Monday with reckless homicide and drunken driving in connection with a car crash that killed a Chicago woman, Illinois State Police said.
Valle, 64, drove his village-owned vehicle the wrong direction in the southbound lanes of Illinois Highway 394 on Feb. 4 when he collided with a car carrying Melikah Little, 32, killing the mother of four children, authorities said.
Valle, who was hospitalized with injuries suffered in the crash just south of the Bishop Ford Freeway interchange, is not expected in court Tuesday for a bond hearing.
The driver of the car Little was riding in, Angelina Jones, also was charged with driving under the influence. Jones, 27, was injured in the crash. Little’s husband, Manuel, who was following their car in another vehicle, also was injured.
Valle, a longtime village employee and elected official, was driving a village-owned 2008 black Ford Taurus.
The Little family has filed a civil lawsuit against Valle and the village of Lynwood. The criminal charges were expected and will have no impact on the civil case, said the family’s attorney, Joseph Vitu Jr.
“Of course, this won’t bring back Melikah,” Vitu said. “This does not absolve (the village). The family wants to see that justice is done, and they have faith in the criminal justice system.”
Paul O’Grady, an attorney representing the village, said the village’s insurance company was “helping out” the Little family with funeral expenses. He did not know the village policies on take-home vehicles or other details about the case, he said.
Valle was charged with aggravated driving under the influence causing death and reckless homicide, both felonies. They carry a combined sentence of up to 19 years in prison, state police said.