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Crime & Courts

NIU professor convicted of DUI for third time

Trude A. Jacobsen, 44, of Sycamore
Trude A. Jacobsen, 44, of Sycamore

SYCAMORE – A tenured Northern Illinois University professor was convicted Tuesday afternoon of driving drunk for a third time, with her child in the car on that occasion. Because her second offense was pending when she drove drunk April 2, 2017, she faces less than half a year in jail.

“It’s partially a discretion thing, but also a timing thing,” DeKalb County Assistant State’s Attorney Brooks Locke said.

Trude A. Jacobsen, 44, of the 2200 block of Frantum Road in Sycamore, faces at least six months in jail and 400 hours of community service, because her 7-year-old child was in the car when she was arrested.

Jacobsen, who earns about $80,000 a year and receives about $14,000 a year in additional compensation, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, has refused to comment on the case. Her lawyer, Ken Johnson, maintains her innocence.

“I respect the jury’s decision, but I’m truly disappointed,” he said shortly after the verdict came down.

The jury was made up of four men and eight women.

“I truly believe she was innocent,” Johnson said.

Both Jacobsen and police officers testified that her 7-year-old child was in the car when she was pulled over about 7:30 p.m. April 2, 2017, when she was headed south on Peace Road near DeKalb Avenue.

Jacobsen was convicted in January 2015 on a DUI charge, and received 
18 months of court supervision,
100 hours of public service and was ordered to attend alcohol treatment classes.

She was also convicted of DUI in October 2017, spent two days in jail, and was sentenced to 18 months of nonreporting conditional discharge,
240 hours of public service and alcohol treatment.

Locke said a third DUI is typically punishable by at least a year in prison, but because her most recent offense happened while her second case was pending, she was released until she’s sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 29.

Locke, who prosecuted the case along with fellow Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Harrell, said in addition to the time in jail, Jacobsen could receive conditional discharge, probation and be ordered to get alcohol evaluation and treatment.

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