A Bridgeview court recently entered an order to dismiss charges against an Oak Park and River Forest High School gym teacher and former baseball coach who was arrested last month on drug-related charges, according to his attorney. 

Chris Ledbetter, 47, of Elmhurst, was stopped by police in Bridgeview around 10:19 p.m. on July 24 for failing to signal while making a left turn, according to an account of the arrest first reported by Oak Lawn Patch. 

After Ledbetter failed to provide them with a valid driver’s license, police took him into custody. Officers recovered 1.5 grams of cocaine after searching the vehicle. The next day, Ledbetter appeared in a Bridgeview courthouse on charges of possession of a controlled substance. 

He was released on a $20,000 I-bond and ordered to undergo drug testing while his case was pending. He was due in court on Aug. 15. 

According to a statement released on Aug. 20 by Ledbetter’s attorney, Thomas Cronin, those charges have now been dismissed and Ledbetter’s driving privileges have since been reinstated. 

“The only remaining traffic ticket Ledbetter must address is to prove that the car Coach Ledbetter was driving at the time of the traffic stop was properly insured,” Cronin stated. “Coach Ledbetter will return to the Bridgeview courthouse in September with proof of insurance — at which time it is expected that the final ticket will similarly be dismissed.”

According to Tandra R. Simonton, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s chief communications officer, Ledbetter was eligible for the county’s Deferred Prosecution Program. The program is available to many first-time, nonviolent offenders as an alternative to criminal prosecution. 

Ledbetter may still need to satisfactorily complete the program before the case is completely dismissed. In addition, the coach may still need to file a petition to expunge his record in order to clear the arrest and dismissal from his criminal background.

District 200 officials would not comment on the arrest when reached last month, since the district’s policy prohibits officials from commenting on personnel issues, but the district’s communications director, Karin Sullivan, confirmed that Ledbetter was still employed at the high school. 

Ledbetter coached the OPRF varsity baseball team for 17 years before he was removed from the position in March. 

He retained Cronin to contest his removal as head coach and in April filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Illinois Department of Human Rights. He’s demanding damages for losses and his reinstatement as head coach. 

In Cronin’s statement, Ledbetter said he was “relieved that the traffic stop was resolved and that the charges are dismissed. 

According to the statement, Ledbetter said, “As a parent as well as a teacher and coach, I urge my students and players to drive carefully, to obey all traffic laws, and to make sure that proof of insurance is in the car you are driving at all times.”

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com    

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