A former Algonquin police sergeant who surrendered his badge last year after following a domestic violence conviction pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge he impersonated a police officer to get out of a speeding ticket.
Wade Merritt, 46, asked for a jury trial on the Class 4 felony charge, which stems from a New Year’s Day traffic stop in Crystal Lake.
The charge alleges Merritt, a Crystal Lake resident, flashed his invalid Algonquin police badge after being stopped for driving 51 mph in a 35 mph zone near Route 14 and Federal Drive.
The officer who stopped him, police said, later learned Merritt no longer was a police officer and authorities filed the felony charge.
Merritt’s attorney, William Hellyer, said Wednesday he is still waiting to see all the evidence against his client, but from what he’s seen so far he believes the accusations will not hold up in court.
“Based on what (Merritt) has told me about what happened, I don’t think there is any basis for the charge,” Hellyer said.
Merritt resigned from the Algonquin Police Department in June, about one month after a judge convicted him of a domestic battery charge that alleged he slapped his wife during a dispute in the family home.
He later was sentenced to nonreporting probation and a $150 fine.
The 22-year police veteran is scheduled to return to court on the new case April 14. If found guilty of impersonating a police officer, he would face a sentence ranging from probation to three years in prison.
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