Mayor in red light camera scheme released early due to declining health


CRESTWOOD, Ill. — A judge has agreed to allow former Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta out of prison due to declining health after serving less than half of his sentence.

Presta was sentenced to one year and one day in prison after pleading guilty to accepting a $5,000 bribe to pave the way for a red light camera system in his south suburb.

Federal court judge Thomas Durkin wrote in the release order that Presta will be required to be on home confinement until he completes his sentence on April 18, 2023.  The judge said medical professionals, including a prison doctor at the federal facility in Lexington, Kentucky where Presta was incarcerated, were consulted on the release. 

Presta will still be required to pay $72,000 in restitution.

WGN Investigates reported in 2021 that the red light camera system operated in 21 suburbs by a company called Safe Speed had generated more than $18 million in ticket revenue since the first indictments were handed down. Officials in Crestwood, Oakbrook Terrace and a now deceased state senator have all been charged in connection to the bribery scheme. 

A former Safe Speed executive accused of orchestrating the bribes is cooperating with the investigation. A company spokesperson maintains the misconduct was carried out by that rogue executive, without the knowledge of other company officials.

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