A Chicago man who led on a foot chase earlier this month was found to be a public safety risk on Thursday, and will now need $7,500 to be released from jail before his trial.
On June 2, at 11:40 p.m., Montgomery police pulled over Paul Woodard, 34, on Melrose Avenue near Lafayette Street for speeding, failing to signal and improper lane use.
Woodard decided to run, and according to the police report, officers chased him for blocks before finally bringing him in. He was charged with two counts of aggravated drunken driving, aggravated driving on a revoked license, illegal transportation of alcohol, and resisting a peace officer.
His bail was initially set at $10,000, meaning he would have to post $1,000 bond to be released. Woodard had asked Kane County Associate Judge Marmarie Kostelny to reduce that amount to $5,000, which would mean he would need $500 to be released from jail.
Prosecutors from the Kane County State's Attorney's office, however, motioned to increase that bail to $150,000. On Thursday, in Kostelny’s courtroom at the Kane County Courthouse, Assistant State’s Attorney Andrew Whitfield explained that, in the state’s view, Woodard’s extensive criminal history makes him a public safety risk.
Whitfield listed off prior convictions for possession of controlled substances, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and mob action, as well as a prior drunken driving conviction in 2009, for which Woodard spent time in prison.
Most alarming, in Whitfield’s words, are Woodard’s 25 prior convictions for driving on a revoked license between 1999 and today. The threshold is 15 for a felony, Whitfield said. According to Whitfield, Woodard’s license is currently revoked, and has been for two years.
“He is a public safety risk because he seems to continue to drive,” Whitfield said.
Kostelny agreed, and ordered Woodard’s bail raised to $75,000. In order to post bond, he will need $7,500. Because of the number of his previous convictions, the aggravated driving with a revoked license charge is now a Class 2 felony, prosecutors said.
“There are significant charges pending against Mr. Woodard, and there are public safety concerns,” she said.
Woodard’s next court date was set for July 21.