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Local

DUI charge dropped against Sterling detective

Officer back on active duty; internal investigation pending

STERLING – A Sterling Police detective is back on active duty after a DUI charge in Tazewell County was dropped for lack of evidence.

An internal investigation is pending, however, which will determine whether the department will take disciplinary action against Alex Chavira, 38.

Chavira was charged in January with driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to give notice of an accident, and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

A bench trial set for July 13 was canceled after the first two charges were dropped.

A representative from the Tazewell County state’s attorney’s office said there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute. At the time of the arrest, Chavira refused to take a breath test.

He pleaded guilty on June 30 to failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Sterling Police Chief Ron Potthoff said Chavira had been placed on restricted duty until the case was completed.

“Being that he only pled to a minor traffic charge, he’s ... back to full duty,” Potthoff said Tuesday.

An internal investigation, being conducted for the department by state police, is almost complete, Potthoff said. Investigators still need to interview Chavira about the incident.

“If the internal investigation from the state police shows something more serious, by way of conduct or something, that he wasn’t convicted of, then we can take departmental action if necessary,” Potthoff said.

According to court documents, Chavira was staying at a hotel in East Peoria in January 2013 when he was stopped and questioned by two East Peoria police officers at his hotel.

He was handcuffed, then after questioning, the handcuffs were removed and Chavira returned to his hotel room.

Police later entered his hotel room and escorted him to the hotel’s lobby, where he was given a court date.

According to the Tazewell County sheriff’s office, Chavira’s name doesn’t appear in its jail’s system, so no mugshot was available.

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