Mundelein Village Trustee Dakotah Norton was charged over the weekend with driving under the influence of alcohol, according to police — which is now his second criminal charge since 2007.
Vernon Hills police stopped Norton, 25, of the 100 block of Racine Place, Mundelein, at 11:15 p.m. Sunday, after police said they saw erratic driving.
According to police reports, officers saw Norton’s car driving in the middle of both southbound Butterfield Road lanes after turning off Allanson Road.
Police said Norton’s car swerved to the right in order to pass another vehicle and then swerved to left to resume its original position.
Even though the light was red, he then made a left turn from Butterfield Road onto eastbound Townline Road, according to police.
Upon stopping him a few blocks later, police noticed the odor of alcohol on Norton’s breath and decided to conduct a field sobriety test, which he failed, reports show.
“I’d like to apologize to anyone I could have hurt while I was on the road, I’d like to apologize to the Village of Mundelein for the damage this arrest will cause to our reputation, and I’d like to apologize to everyone who believed in my mission when I ran for office,” Norton said on June 17.
He secured the third open seat on the Mundelein Village Board when he collected more than 25 percent of the votes during the April 7 municipal election. He was sworn into office on May 11 and has served in two meetings so far.
Norton said he was at home casually drinking with some friends the night of June 14 when he decided to get some groceries from the Wal-Mart in Vernon Hills.
“I don’t think I was a danger to anyone, but it was a lack of judgment to even risk it,” Norton said. “It was wrong; I should have asked someone else to drive or not left the house at all.”
“I think it’s important to not hide this, but I also don’t want it to detract from the goals and issues I’m working toward on behalf of the Mundelein taxpayers,” Norton said.
Mayor Steve Lentz said he’s aware of the situation and has no plans to conduct a hearing or investigation.
“I spoke with Dakotah and he was very apologetic toward me and the village. He then described his plans for correcting his behavior,” Lentz said. “I walked away from the conversation feeling satisfied. I believe he was being very sincere with his apology and with the plans he laid before me.”
Norton is scheduled in court July 15. However, the DUI charge is not Norton’s first encounter with police.
Court records show that Norton was charged with delivery of marijuana in November 2007, according to Cynthia Vargas, a spokesperson for the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Norton pleaded guilty, according to court records, and was given 24 months of probation and 100 hours of community service; he was also required to complete a treatment program.
His probation fell under an Illinois law pertaining to first-time drug offenders, which allows courts to withhold judgment and sentence an offender to probation. If the probation is successfully completed, the court may dismiss the charges.
Norton successfully completed his probation, according to Vargas.
When asked about the arrest, Norton said he was a teenager at the time and that he was experimenting and was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I was making some bad decisions back then, but I don’t think they were devastating or dangerous,” Norton said. “That arrest taught me that actions have consequences, and I haven’t had any run-ins with the law since then. But now my bad decision on Sunday discredits all that growth I went through these past eight years.”