The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk

By Amy Hart in News on Mar 9, 2006 4:30PM

2006_03_idot.jpgA recent report from the state’s Auditor General says the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) hired inexperienced workers, did not fully utilize federal funding for safety projects, and mismanaged a reorganization of the agency in 2004. It goes on to criticize the hiring of two friends of Governor Blagojevich with histories of drunk driving into the department.

Last month Blago’s longtime friend Dan Stefanski was quietly let go from his special assistant position after being pulled over for drunk driving. Police found an open bottle of vodka in the car, along with three children. Apparently he was trying to one-up his drunk driving incident from last April. At that time he tried to get out of it by mentioning his position in IDOT and bringing up his buddy Blago. It didn’t work. Stefanski was also arrested for drunk driving in 2000 and reckless driving in 2003. Yeesh. As a result of his latest arrest, Stefanski has been charged with endangering the life of a child and driving on a license that was suspended at the time of his April arrest.

Blago hired another friend with a history of drunk driving arrests, Rodney Hale, into a traffic safety administrative position within IDOT. Hale is also no longer with the agency.

Chicagoist’s father used to work for IDOT, but retired before Blago took office. He tells us that he is worried about the safety of drivers, as well as IDOT workers out on roads, because “Those people [the members of management] don’t know what the hell they’re doing. All of the drinking impairs their judgment.”