River Forest Traffic and Safety commissioner arrested for DUI

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By Megan Dooley

Staff Reporter

A member of the volunteer River Forest Traffic and Safety Commission was arrested by Riverside police late last month on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Attorney Brian J. O'Hara, a River Forest resident, was stopped by a patrol officer at 25th and Harlem in Berwyn at just after 3 a.m. on March 26 for driving erratically. According to the police report, O'Hara's Mercedes Benz sport utility vehicle was spotted weaving in traffic and failing to maintain its lane.

The report said the Riverside officer then pulled O'Hara over and detected a strong odor of alcohol when O'Hara rolled down the window to hand the officer his driver's license. At first, O'Hara refused a field sobriety test. "The subject then related that he is an attorney and that he is on the River Forest Traffic Safety Commission and that he does not want to incriminate himself," read the police report.

O'Hara eventually agreed to the field sobriety test, and was taken into custody after showing multiple indications of impairment.

When contacted about the incident, River Forest police Sgt. Michael Thornley, who acts as the staff liaison to the Traffic and Safety Commission, said that he had not heard about the arrest, and could not comment on the incident because the arrest was made by another department.

Village Administrator Eric Palm also said he had not heard about the incident. "This is the first I'm hearing of it," he said. "I would say, at this point, that the village has no comment on it."

Calls to O'Hara about the incident were not immediately returned.

Reader Comments

18 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Violet Aura  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 2:00 PM

Cont. If they get arrested a second time, ban them from driving for three years and off to rehab for a whole year. There should be mandatory longterm rehab for alcoholics and drug addicts who affect the public by driving under the influence, battery, etc. An addict who choose to get behind the wheel is someone out of control.

Violet Aura  

Posted: April 2nd, 2011 1:57 PM

I have just read that this is his second DUI and fourth traffic arrest! Getting behind the wheel after drinking can lead to absolute tragedy. I think America is way too lenient with people who risk killing others. I think that the first time a person is found guilty of driving while intoxicated, their car should be taken away from them for one year and they are sent to rehab for nine months. Simply taking away the license does not stop someone from continuing to drive. If they get arrested again

Joe  

Posted: April 1st, 2011 10:40 AM

@epic lulz I said it should have been handled in the police blotter not covered up and not a special alert. I would assert that being on a volunteer commission is not being a public figure. You should try being on one. The truth is there is no pay, no power, no final authority, minimal thanks and homework. WOW, when called, I wonder what the "official comment" of the Village will be if I get a parking ticket again?

epic lulz  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 4:38 PM

@Joe, I suggest you look-up the word "sensational". O'Hara is a public figure and holds a position of trust in the community. You need to explain why you insist that the WJ should cover this up.

Wake Up  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 2:31 PM

I am glad the WJ reports on items like this. Just as a point of reference, this would be the SECOND DUI for Mr. Brian O'Hara. Everyone does make mistakes however when you are on a Safety Board and expected to live to a higher standard then things like this will get you negative attention. We all make choices, as Warren Buffet said, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation, it takes 5 minutes to lose it." Admit the mistake and step down, clean your life up, and then come back to public matters.

Joe  

Posted: March 31st, 2011 1:25 PM

@epic lulz, the sensational nature of this "reporting" happens at the WJ. I am niether a shill nor a sock puppet. I felt the same way when the WJ tried to piece together the last 2 years of the shop owner's life who committed suicide and make that news. This should not have been given special teatment.

Patty O'Furniture from River Forest  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 9:16 PM

Paddy Boy is right, don't ya know...it's no doubt profiling agin the "O's"...they're always after me lucky charms!!

epic lulz  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 8:11 PM

LMAO @ all the friends of O'Hara pointing fingers at everyone and everything but the perp. It's obviously and completely newsworthy that a member of the appointed Traffic and Safety Commission of RF and an attorney and officer of the court was caught DUI. To explain this further would be insulting to everyone who isn't one of O'Hara's shills/sockpuppets.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 1:47 PM

Paddy Boy objects to this obvious case of racial profiling against people whose last names start with"O'"

OP Resident from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 11:43 AM

Alcoholism is a disease, but driving under the influence is a crime. Thousands of people are killed or destroyed by the actions of drunk drivers. One of my students, a 19 year old with a promising future was killed by one of these criminals. Her family is still suffering 10 years later and the perpetrator has still not spent time in jail despite his repeated offense. I think the newspapers ought to publish a list of all people arrested for DUI so at least their neighbors can know to stay away.

RF Resident  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 6:52 AM

Articles like this crack me up, people who are supposed to be "leaders" for all things the traffic safety commission are getting caught driving under the influence. Unfortunately, many people drive under the influence, some just don't get caught. This doesn't make it right. To the person who asked why this is news? We live in a information age, news like this travels much faster, also he was on a safety board, his actions clearly weren't safe. Get him the proper help and move forward

John Abbott from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2011 11:51 PM

I make no excuses for Mr. O'Hara & his behavior, but also question the newsworthiness of this story. Is the angle that he serves on a voluntary citizen commission? If so, will the WJ start reporting on any and all infractions involving all RF and OP commissioners? And why stop there? I for one would want to know if officers of my local PTO ever found themselves on the wrong side of the law. Well, maybe not, but seriously -- where does the WJ draw the line?

FP Resident  

Posted: March 29th, 2011 10:57 PM

I sincerely hope that you are not using the disease of alcoholism to excuse -- or explain -- an individual's willful decision to drive a vehicle while intoxicated. One can be an alcoholic without CHOOSING to put other people's lives at risk. (Full disclosure: My uncle was killed by a drunk driver, his family critically injured.)

Don't Drink and Drive from River Forest  

Posted: March 29th, 2011 10:53 PM

The really question is why anyone drives while under the influence. Your comments below are placing blame on this paper that reported it and I don't even understand the comment about the police. The only person responsible for getting their name in the paper is Mr. O'Hara.

OP Resident  

Posted: March 29th, 2011 9:38 PM

This would have been an entirely different story if the intoxicated driver had been a police officer. We've all read reports of of intoxicated cops being given a pass or the sobriety test delayed & administrated several hours after the stop. Has anyone ever heard of a police officer caught DUI when the troopers set up one of those checkpoints? Famous athletes, celebrities and politicians have all been nabbed & had their mug shot released to the media. But it never happens to a cop. What a joke!

W.R. Hearst  

Posted: March 29th, 2011 6:58 PM

Oh, Joe, competition is clearly cutthroat between this and the several other local news publications servicing Oak Park. Otherwise, why would the fine editorial and reporting staff publish such sensational coverage? Really--why?

Joe  

Posted: March 29th, 2011 6:24 PM

Since when did the Wednesday Journal begin covering the police blotter in Riverside? The fact that the person arrested is a VOLUNTEER on a Village commission adds absolutely NOTHING to this story, it only makes the Wednesday Journal seem like the National Inquirer of the near west suburbs.

Alcoholism is a disease from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2011 5:58 PM

Alcoholism is a disease, not a character disorder. According to the World Health Organization's Report on Alcohol Use, 2010 13% of all American males over 18 drink more than 6 drinks at least once a week. Sad as it is to say, being arrested for a DUI does not disqualify a person from being a traffic and safety officer.

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