ALORTON,Ill. – The mayor of this Metro East village has been charged with official misconduct for operating a police vehicle with its lights flashing.
JoAnn Reed was charged with two felony counts of official misconduct for “operating a Village of Alorton motor vehicle on a public roadway in the state of Illinois while operating oscillating, rotating or flashing lights.” She also was charged with a misdemeanor complaint for using emergency lights on a public roadway.
Reed was charged late Friday, a couple of weeks after a driver told Illinois State Police it appeared a civilian female driver was impersonating a police officer, reported Belleville News-Democrat.
A dispatcher then radioed a warning, or ISPERN (Illinois State Police Emergency Radio Network), alerting police in the area. The broadcast was picked up by citizens and then distributed on Facebook.
The unidentified driver told police he saw a black police car with blue and red lights flashing and a sign on the driver’s side door that stated “Mayor Jo Ann Reed” on Sept. 15. The car was traveling east on Interstate 64, weaving through traffic near the Illinois 157 exit.
An investigation by the State Police Public Corruption Task Force resulted in the charges. Kelly also called for Reed, who is on bond for an earlier felony voting fraud charge, to immediately resign from office as mayor of Alorton. She did not.
St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly issued the charges late Friday. He also authorized a search warrant for the 2016 Ford village police car she drives.
Alorton Village Board member Gwen McCallum, a frequent Reed critic, said the board had not given Reed permission to drive the car.
Reed’s bail on the charge was set at $75,000, which she posted.
Reed could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Justin Kuehn, declined to comment.
She pleaded guilty in 2014 to a felony charge that accused her of smuggling a cellphone into the Alorton jail for an incarcerated relative. Her conviction was removed from her record after she attended a drug treatment program, the Belleville News-Democrat reported. She ran again for mayor and won, reported St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
In July, reporters found Reed behind the wheel of the same car at a Centreville gas station. Her late father’s handicapped tag hung from the rearview mirror. A state spokesman at the time said it is not illegal for Reed to display the tag.
Reed is currently free on bail on charges of vote buying and official misconduct. She was scheduled to go to trial on those charges on Nov. 13. The official misconduct charge is related to the demotion of a police sergeant who testified in an investigation related to the vote buying felony.