CASEYVILLE – St. Clair County chief public defender Richard Roustio blew smoke and ashes at an officer checking his condition, according to a report of his arrest on a charge of driving under the influence.
He was stopped by Caseyville officer Michelle Schroeder on Jan. 9, after she observed his black Honda Pilot traveling south on Main Street.
The arrest report says the vehicle crossed the white line, jerked, and drifted. It then exited east to St. Clair Avenue.
As it approached Route 157, it changed lanes in the middle of the intersection.
Schroeder wrote that she initiated a stop.
“As the vehicle pulled over to the side of the road the driver lit a cigarette,” she wrote.
She asked for license and insurance.
“While speaking to Roustio he had a cigarette in the corner of his mouth and when responding to my questions he would turn his head towards me and exhale causing smoke and ashes to go into my face,” she wrote.
“Despite the cigarette smoke I could smell a strong odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle.
“His speech was slow, deliberate, and he occasionally made a clicking noise.”
She noted droopy eyelids, bloodshot and watery eyes, and a red blotchy face.
She wrote that he struggled to remove his license from his wallet.
While she ran his records at her vehicle, he threw the cigarette butt out the window.
She asked if he had been drinking and he stated he had not.
“At this time Roustio was no longer smoking and the smell of alcoholic beverage was stronger than my initial contact,” she wrote.
She wrote that she ordered him to exit the vehicle and he complied.
He placed his right hand on the driver’s side to steady himself.
“He hesitated and was unsure as he turned towards me,” she wrote.
She wrote that she still smelled a strong odor and asked if he had anything to drink.
“He then stated he had one beer when he was at a SLU game,” she wrote.
She asked what time, and he said at the beginning of the game.
She wrote that she believed him to be under the influence and requested he submit to standard field tests.
“Roustio stated he would not perform any test,” she wrote.
He was placed under arrest, handcuffed, and searched.
At the station, after 20 minutes of observation, he refused to submit to a breath sample.
She wrote that he provided $100 bond and was released.
Roustio, 62, of Swansea, has served as chief defender since 2016. He was picked by former St. Clair County chief judge John Baricevic to replace John O’Gara who had been appointed associate judge. Roustio recently placed his name in contention for one of three associate judge positions that opened up after the November election of O’Gara, Chis Kolker and Heinz Rudolf as circuit judges.
He also maintains a law practice at Daley Sheafor & Roustio in Belleville.