Former St. Charles economic development director Chris Aiston, 55, of the 700 block of James Street, Geneva, has been charged by the Geneva Police Department for driving under the influence of alcohol after a crash that took place Jan. 22.
Aiston left his St. Charles post in July after having been in that role since 2009.The Batavia City Council in August voted to hire Aiston as an independent contractor for economic development services. He is being paid an annual retainer of $88,000.
His arrest occurred at 11:21 p.m. Jan. 22 in the 1500 block of East State Street. He also was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and driving too fast for conditions. The report did not indicate Aiston’s blood-alcohol level.
Aiston could not be reached for comment. A plea setting is scheduled for Feb. 19.
According to the accident report, Aiston was driving westbound in the curb lane in the 1500 block of East State Street, approaching Kirk Road, when he attempted to stop but slid on the slush on the road and rear-ended another car, causing that car to rear end a third car.
His arrest did not happen while he was on business for Batavia. Batavia City Administrator Bill McGrath said the city was notified after it happened.
“He wasn’t doing anything with the city at the time it happened,” McGrath said. “I don’t see how this impacts the work he has been doing for us. He’s been doing a real nice job.”
Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said Aiston already has helped to bring new businesses to the city since his hiring.
“He has been a proven performer in my eyes,” Schielke said.
Aiston has more than 20 years of experience in planning, zoning and economic development, including stints in Geneva, Kane County and DeKalb County in addition to St. Charles.
“At this point, it is something he has to deal with on a personal level,” Batavia 2nd Ward Alderman Alan Wolff said. “If it ever affected city business, he would be gone.”
Third Ward Alderman Dan Chanzit agreed that Aiston has been doing a good job for the city.
“It doesn’t seem like this is affecting his job,” Chanzit said. “If this was a city event or if he was leaving a city event, then that would make all the difference. This is something very personal that he will have to confront and overcome. This sounds like an opportunity for a wake-up call.”