A drunk-driving charge against Michael P. Ditka, the son of former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, has been upgraded to a felony because of two previous charges of drunken driving against him in Lake County, court and police documents show.
Court documents from Cook County also show that the younger Ditka had another prior DUI arrest in Cook County – bringing his total to at least four.
According to the Lake County court records, Ditka was arrested in Highwood and charged with DUI on June 12, 2004, and later was sentenced to supervision, fines and DUI school. His license was also suspended at that time, the documents show.
The younger Ditka was also charged with DUI on Sept. 4, 2008, in Deerfield, according to police and court records. In that case, Ditka rear-ended a U.S. Postal Service vehicle while it was stopped along Deerfield Road, according to the Deerfield police report. The report indicated Ditka failed field sobriety tests, though his blood-alcohol content registered at 0.068 and 0.066 in two separate tests, below the 0.08 legal limit.
In that case, Ditka later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, reckless driving, and was sentenced to 18 months probation and ordered to attend counseling, abstain from drinking alcohol and submit to random drug and alcohol testing. He successfully completed the terms of his probation, court records indicate.
Ditka's upgraded charge of aggravated DUI will mean he is no longer able to drive pending the outcome of his case, according to court records.
In Cook County, court records show that Ditka was also arrested for DUI by state police on Jan. 20, 2006. He was later convicted of DUI, paid $3,775 in fines and was placed on probation, which he completed on Jan. 27, 2007.
Ditka, 49, had appeared in Lake County court earlier Wednesday on the current charge, stemming from his arrest on April 20 while he was sitting in a car in the parking lot of his Deerfield apartment complex. Ditka has denied that he was driving the car.
Neither Ditka nor his attorney, Robert Ritacca, could immediately be reached for comment.
Freelance reporters George Houde and Andrea L. Brown contributed to this report.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun