Earlville parolee faces 3 felonies in Dixon stolen car case

William C. Whitford in February 2024

DIXON – After looking at the evidence, the Lee County state’s attorney’s office has charged an Earlville parolee accused of stealing a vehicle in rural Dixon with three felonies, not the four the Lee County Sheriff’s Office originally thought would be charged.

William C. Whitford, 31, was arrested about 10:30 p.m. Sunday by Dixon police after officers responded to a report of a vehicle stolen in the 200 block of Route 2 in the Riverside Estates mobile home park and released a description of the vehicle.

The sheriff’s office said in a news release Monday that Whitford was charged with possession of a controlled substance, punishable by four to 15 years in prison; possession of a stolen vehicle and aggravated battery to a police officer (he is accused of kicking an officer), each punishable by three to seven years; felony resisting arrest, which carries one to three years; and trespass to a vehicle and driving on a revoked license, both misdemeanors.

When State’s Attorney Charley Boonstra filed charges Tuesday in Lee County court, however, he declined to include a felony resisting-arrest charge.

Whitford also has a pending 2023 felony driving-under-the-influence case in Lee County, aggravated because he has five or more previous DUI convictions, and was wanted for failing to appear on a parole violation related to the DUI, which is punishable six to 30 years in prison.

He waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday in both cases, and will have a pretrial conference March 14.

Whitford also was wanted by the Illinois Department of Corrections for absconding. Officials said he failed to return from a work program while on parole on a three-year sentence for driving under the influence in DeKalb County.

Additionally, Whitford faces another charge of driving on a revoked license. Because it is his second, he faces one to four years in prison if convicted.

That case was filed Dec. 28 in Lee County after his arrest by Amboy police.

He will remain in Lee County jail until IDOC picks him up and returns him to prison.

Whitford was paroled July 28 from the Big Muddy Correctional Center, according to the IDOC website, where he also is designated an absconder.

He was admitted to Big Muddy on Dec. 1, 2021, after being sentenced to two three-year concurrent terms for back-to-back DUIs committed in DeKalb County in 2019.

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.