Rock Falls felon facing DUI, other felony charges after 4-vehicle crash with injuries on North Galena in Dixon

Ryan L. Charleston in November 2023

Editor’s note: This story originally said Charleston also was charged Dec. 6 with a single felony DUI in a separate case, but the details were not available at press time. That entry in the online court record was a clerical error, the Lee County circuit clerk’s office reported Dec. 7, and that incorrect information was deleted.

DIXON – A Rock Falls man accused of speeding through Dixon on Tuesday evening while fleeing police, crashing into three other vehicles and injuring six people, including himself, is facing multiple DUI and other felonies in Lee County Court, according to Dixon police.

Ryan L. Charleston, 40, was arrested Wednesday and is being held in Lee County jail.

According to a news release Wednesday from Dixon police:

Officers tried to stop Charleston after receiving a 911 call about 4:37 p.m. reporting an erratic and reckless driver coming into Dixon on state Route 2 from Grand Detour around.

Charleston’s SUV was spotted in the 1300 block of North Galena Avenue, heading north. It turned onto Liberty Court and drove off the pavement and onto the grass, going around the south side of the Freedom Walk apartment complex.

An officer activated his emergency lights but the SUV did not stop, getting back on Galena heading south. The officer broke off the attempted traffic stop.

The SUV was speeding in the 1300 block when it drove into the northbound lanes and collided with a vehicle turning south onto Galena from North Court. Two other vehicles were struck as a result of that initial collision.

Charleston and five other people were treated at KSB Hospital for serious but not life-threatening injuries, according to the release.

Charleston was charged Wednesday with three counts of aggravated DUI, three counts of aggravated fleeing, driving while license is revoked and aggravated reckless driving causing bodily harm, all felonies, and two counts of speeding more than 35 mph over the posted limit.

One of the DUI charges is punishable by three to seven years in prison; each of the other seven carry sentences of one to three years.

A detention hearing and an initial appearance have yet to be scheduled.

Charleston also has a pending case in Whiteside County, where he was charged Oct. 25, 2022, with driving on a revoked license and misdemeanor fleeing Sept. 4, 2022. He had not appeared in that case.

Charleston was sentenced in Whiteside County on July 25, 2018, to 2 1/2 years’ probation for driving while license revoked, and on Nov. 20, 2018, to three years in prison for aggravated battery causing great bodily harm.

He beat a Walmart employee with a blunt object so severely that the employee was hospitalized, police said.

On May 26, 2009, he was sentenced to two years in prison for driving while license revoked, and on Dec. 12, 2006, to two years, again for aggravated battery causing great bodily harm.

On Sept. 27, 2001, he got two years for dealing 30 to 500 grams of marijuana, and on Dec. 28, 2000, he received 2 1/2 years’ probation for dealing and possessing 30 to 500 grams of marijuana.

Charleston also was convicted July 12, 2007, in Lee County of aggravated battery of a police officer and sentenced to three years with the Department of Corrections.

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Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.