Former Menard Co. Deputy, PORTA SRO Arrested After IL-97 Car Crash

By Benjamin Cox on December 6, 2023 at 1:39pm

Photo Courtesy Menard Co. Sheriff's Office & Springfield Leaks

A former Menard County Sheriff’s Deputy was arrested last week after being involved in a single-vehicle crash on Illinois Route 97 near the Athens blacktop.

At just before 6PM on Tuesday, November 28th, the Menard County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a single-car crash with no injuries at Illinois Route 97 at the Athens blacktop turn off. Upon arrival, deputies observed a blue SUV halfway blocking the southbound lane on the highway with the front of the vehicle in the ditch. Springfield Leaks reports that eye witnesses told deputies that they witnessed the vehicle swerve into the ditch.

Deputies then approached the vehicle and spoke with the driver, 30-year old Kelsey M. Wooldridge of Petersburg. According to the deputies report, Wooldridge was speaking in incoherrent sentences and kept repeating herself saying she had swerved to miss a deer. The Illinois State Police then arrived and took control of the scene because Wooldridge was formerly employed as a deputy with the Menard County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Springfield Leaks, Wooldridge was arrested on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence and taken to the Menard County Jail. While at the jail, Wooldridge is said to have been combative, refused correctional officer commands, and slapped a correctional officer in the face.

Due to Wooldridge’s previous employment, she was then transferred to the Sangamon County Jail. She has been charged with driving under the influence, illegal transportation of alcohol, resisting a peace officer, and aggravated battery to a peace officer. She has since been released with a status hearing set in the case on December 12th.

According to personnel records gathered by Springfield Leaks, Wooldridge was employed with the Menard County Sheriff’s Office from August 2016 to August 2023. Wooldridge signed a resignation agreement with the county in which the county would provide a neutral non-law enforcement job reference only and also allowed Wooldridge to remain on the county’s employee insurance plan through the end of August 2023. Wooldridge also served as a school resource officer for the PORTA school district from March 2017 until the time of her resignation. No further information on either the crash or Wooldridge’s resignation is currently available.