Police: Madison County official faces felony charge after damaging patrol car

AP file photo

A Madison County official has been charged with a felony after he damaged a police car when authorities were called to his house, police said.

But the official’s employers say his actions were caused by post-traumatic stress disorder, and they want him kept on the job

According to Wood River Police Department reports, Bradley A. Lavite, who heads the county’s Veterans Commission, was charged with criminal damage to government-supported property. He allegedly damaged the windows of a patrol car that was called to his house last week.

Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Stephanee Smith confirmed the charges but would not elaborate about the case.

“He was charged last week for damaging a Wood River Police Department squad car,” Smith said in a written response to a News-Democrat reporter’s questions. “We are requesting that a special prosecutor be assigned to handle the case, so we won't have any other comments at this time.”

Information about what initially brought police to Lavite’s home was not immediately available. He couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Madison County Administrator Joe Parente said Lavite is not, technically, a county employee, so it’s not up to county leaders if he’s disciplined in relation to the charges. Lavite works for the county Veterans Commission.

“We’ve communicated with them, asking them to review the situation,” Parente said. “We have some security concerns in light of the situation that we’d like to discuss with them.”

Parente would not elaborate on specifics about the concerns.

Bob Sedlacek, president of the Madison County Veterans Assistance Commission Board, said he believes Lavite had an outburst caused by a change in the medication he takes to control post-traumatic stress disorder. Sedlacek said the board stands behind Lavite.

“We intend to get him back,” Sedlacek said. “We believe the problem was not his own and we’re working on things.”

Sedlacek said, since the medication change was made a couple of weeks ago, Lavite has been “volitile.” But Sedlacek said he believes doctors have worked out the problem and that Lavite isn’t a security risk.

According to Lavite’s profile, he has been superintendent of the Madison County Veterans Assistance Commission since January 2009.

He is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve and serves as a professor of military science with the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Reserve Officer Training Corps. County records indicate he makes about $84,000 a year in the county position.