“This is odd.”
That’s what a Crystal Lake police officer said on Feb. 1 as he pulled over a silver SUV that had been intermittently flashing police lights and blaring a siren.
The driver turned out to be 49-year-old Matthew E. Konie, a master sergeant with the Illinois State Police.
Konie is charged in McHenry County with driving under the influence of alcohol after his Feb. 1 arrest. Illinois State Police have declined to comment on the charges against the officer, who earned $167,000 last year, Illinois comptroller records show.
Police reports and dashboard camera footage that the Northwest Herald obtained Friday through a Freedom of Information Act request provide a more detailed look at Konie’s arrest.
The incident began at 7:28 p.m. when Crystal Lake police Sgt. Daniel Hulata was driving south on Williams Street approaching Brink Street. His interest piqued when he heard the wail of a siren and noticed a silver SUV with red and blue lights, police reports show.
Suspecting the driver might be impersonating a police officer, Hulata followed the vehicle for a few moments before pulling over the driver for speeding, Hulata wrote in his report.
The driver of the SUV, whom police later identified as Konie, struggled to park the vehicle, setting off the lights and sirens once more before speaking with officers, according to reports.
“As I met with the male white driver I could see he was holding open a gold-colored law enforcement badge case and was waving the badge at me,” the officer said in his report. “I observed this badge to be a master sergeant rank badge of the Illinois State Police.”
Crystal Lake police have not disclosed the identity of an adult man in the passenger seat, who officers described as “wasted.”
The unidentified man described Konie to police as a “stand-up guy” who simply was trying to impress the man or show off by activating the lights and sirens on what later was discovered to be an unmarked police vehicle, police reports stated.
Konie was off duty at the time, police have said. He and his passenger were on their way back to Lake in the Hills, where Konie lives, after an afternoon “downtown” with friends, Konie allegedly told police.
Officers described Konie throughout their reports as having smelled strongly of alcohol. Throughout his interaction with police, he struggled to speak, balance and perform simple tasks, they said.
“While standing at the driver’s side window, I viewed the driver to have difficulty with fine motor skills to end a phone call in that Konie had difficulty using his finger to hit the red ‘end phone call’ button on his smartphone,” one officer wrote. “I witnessed Konie attempt to press and miss this red button four times before he successfully struck the button and ended his phone call.”
Through slurred speech, Konie told the Crystal Lake officers that he was assigned to work in Zone 1 of the Illinois State Police Department. The designation encompasses McHenry, Kane, Lake, DeKalb, DuPage and Cook counties, according to the state police website.
Konie was the department’s 11th highest paid employee last year, records show.
“I smell a lot of alcohol coming off of you, sir,” one officer said. “You’re operating a state police vehicle. How much have you had to drink?”
A “couple” and “not too many” was Konie’s reply, according to police reports.
Konie went on to refuse breath and roadside sobriety tests. In accordance with McHenry County’s “no refusal” policy, officers obtained a search warrant for a blood sample and transported Konie to Northwestern Medicine Woodstock Hospital.
Officers drove the unidentified passenger home, police reports show.
Before placing Konie in handcuffs, Crystal Lake officers paused to consider whether they had enough information to arrest the man for suspected driving under the influence.
“He’s got the siren. He’s turning on his lights,” one officer can be heard saying out of view of a police dashboard camera. “He’s driving 70 mph going down Main Street. I can smell alcohol on him. His passenger’s wasted. He put himself in this position.”
Konie posted bond and was released that evening. He’s due back in court Feb. 26.
His attorney, Edward Donahue, has not returned phone calls seeking comment.