Off-Duty Chicago Cop tries to get out of DUI by shooting at suburban officer making traffic stop

We have seen a few examples of police officers being accused of driving while intoxicated, so while that is disappointing, it is not surprising.  I have even represented one of them recently (and he was found not guilty).

But to hear that an officer drove off after being stopped is a whole other thing.

And that after being stopped, the off-duty cop started firing at a suburban police officer, puts it on a whole new level.

From the Sun-Times:

An off-duty Chicago Police officer has been stripped of his arrest powers after he allegedly fired multiple times at an off-duty suburban cop who tried to pull him over after suspecting he was driving drunk, law enforcement sources said Monday.

No one was hit by the gunfire, which happened about 4 p.m. Sunday near the Chicago Police Department’s Marquette Park District station on the Southwest Side.

Charges are pending against the 52-year-old Chicago cop, who was assigned to the Marquette Park District.

“If the allegations are true, the actions and behavior demonstrated by this officer are beyond unacceptable, have absolutely no place in our department and he will be separated from CPD,” according to a statement from the Chicago Police Department.

The off-duty Chicago cop was driving his personal vehicle with a fellow off-duty Chicago officer in the passenger seat when an off-duty Merrionette Park police officer pulled his vehicle behind them at 111th and Kedzie.

The Merrionette Park officer got out and showed his badge to get the off-duty officer out of his vehicle because he was allegedly driving erratically.

But the off-duty Chicago cop drove away. The Merrionette Park officer called 911 and followed the other vehicle. They stopped in the 1900 block of West Pryor near the Marquette Park station.

The Chicago cop is accused of exiting his vehicle with a gun in his hand and walking toward the Merrionette Park officer’s vehicle, sources said.

The Merrionette Park officer ducked and drove away as the off-duty Chicago cop allegedly fired his weapon at the fleeing vehicle about five times, sources said.

The Merrionette Park officer went inside the police station to report the incident and the off-duty Chicago cop allegedly left the scene.

The off-duty cop was later taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The Independent Police Review Authority is also investigating. The agency examines every reported discharge of a weapon by Chicago Police officers, a spokesman said.

How nice of the police to keep this officer’s name confidential in the press release.  Normally, they send out a press release with a mug shot when they have a routine DUI case.  Not this time.

More NFL DUIs in the news

Two years ago, former Atlanta Falcons’ running back Jamal Anderson was arrested for DUI, but caught a break when the case was reduced to reckless driving.  Now, he needs another break, because he was arrested again by the Georgia State Patrol.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon avoided further suspension by the NFL by pleading guilty to his DUI arrest in September, before the league’s new substance abuse policy went into effect.

Former Bears quarterback Bob Avellini was sentenced to 18 months in prison for getting arrested for a DUI just nine days after receiving probation for a felony DUI.  His license was suspended or revoked at the time of the new arrest.  Avellini, who had been arrested several times for DUI but had only been convicted of it twice before the most recent arrest, had a BAC nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08.

The former owner of the Arena League Chicago Rush, David Staral, Jr. was charged with bankruptcy fraud and wire fraud in connection with his purchase of the team.

 

KY Police Chief gets DUI after passing out at Taco Bell Drive-Thru, but don’t worry, he says he won’t do it again

The “I won’t do it again, let’s move on” defense usually doesn’t work for my clients, but a Kentucky police chief is hoping it will work in the court of public opinion, even if it is not successful in criminal court.

From Kentucky.com:

Cited for drunken driving in Hazard over the weekend, Whitesburg police Chief Tyrone Fields said Monday that he had learned from the experience.

Fields, who has been police chief in Whitesburg since 2011, acknowledged the arrest during a phone interview.

“It’s very unfortunate, but I’ve learned from it,” Fields said. “Just never do it again, pick up the pieces and move on.”

Hazard police Chief Minor Allen said Fields was cited for driving under the influence after Hazard officers received a call about 1 a.m. Sunday that someone had passed out in the drive-through of a Taco Bell restaurant.

Allen said an officer went to the restaurant, found the person and became concerned when the man couldn’t be awakened. The officer summoned an ambulance, Allen said.

Fields was taken to Hazard Regional Region Healthcare, according to published reports.

Fields said Monday that he was taken to the hospital for a blood test, not because of his condition.

Study shows earlier school start time leads to increase in teen driving accidents

Here are the results of an interesting study as reported in the Chicago Tribune:

research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and reported in 2014 showed that for half of communities that instituted a later start time for their high schools, the rate of car crashes for high-school-age drivers dropped by 65 to 70 percent.

“By decreasing the likelihood that teens will be sleep-deprived when getting behind the wheel in the morning, we can help decrease the chance they will be involved in an accident,” Morgenthaler, who was not part of the new study, told Reuters Health in a statement.

Sleep and circadian rhythms change during adolescence, and school start times that aren’t aligned with their sleep needs puts teens at risk for chronic sleep restriction, he said.

“In puberty, a natural shift occurs in the timing of the body’s internal ‘circadian’ clock, causing most teens to have a biological preference for a late-night bedtime,” Morgenthaler said. “Current school start times are asking teens to shine when their biological clock tells them to sleep.”

Scheduling school start times should be a collaboration between parents and local school boards, he said.

“My suggestion would be that high schools should optimally start in the area of 8:30 to 8:45 such as the two later starting jurisdictions in our two studies,” Vorona told Reuters Health by email. “I would expect that they would need to end the school day later.”…

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/1Hc0FE4 Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, November 14, 2014

Illinois State Bar Association to push to correct law that punishes unimpaired driving with traces of cannabis

I have written several times about the Illinois “zero-tolerance” laws that make it a crime to drive a motor vehicle with even a trace of a narcotic, such as cannabis, in one’s bloody system, even if that trace is metabolite residue that comes from usage days or weeks before.

Even worse, if there is a fatal accident, and a driver has a trace amount of a narcotic in his or her system, he can be charged with a DUI involving death regardless of his or her fault in the occurrence.

Here is a a real life example of this poorly thought out law:  Scott Shirey was prosecuted by the Lake County State’s Attorney after a fatal crash which occurred when his vehicle was stopped at a red light and a distracted driver crashed into his car, killing one of his sons and seriously injuring another.  Because it was a fatality, Mr. Shirey was required to take a blood test, and he tested positive for cannabis metabolite, i.e., he had used marijuana days or weeks earlier.  No one ever accused him of being impaired and no one believed that he caused the crash.  However, he was charged and faced up to 14 years in prison.  He was ultimately sentenced to 30 months probation.

Not everyone is so lucky.  I have written about people getting 18 months, 6 years and 15 years for similar offenses that did not involve impairment — merely the presence of cannabis residue in their system.

Now the Illinois State Bar Association is pushing legislation to correct these terrible laws and to put Illinois in line with 34 other states that require impairment for a driving under the influence of drugs case.  There is no good reason to support the existing law, and none has been offered, except that “drugs are bad.”  That may be enough for Mr. Mackey, but that should not be enough for the rest of us.

Man gets 10 years for DUI crash by Cook County Jail that killed Correctional Officer

From a Chicago Sun-Times story by Rummana Hussein:

A Little Village man with a history of DUIs was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday for a hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a Cook County correctional officer who was crossing the street to go to work at Cook County Jail.

Juan Bello, 58, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a deadly accident for the July 2012 crime, according to court records.

Nikkii Bostic-Jones, 37, was thrown onto the road and pinned under a sheriff’s car when she was hit by Bello ’s van as she crossed the street outside the jail.

The married mother of a little girl died a short time later at an area hospital.

Bello fled the scene, but a witness was able to give authorities a description of the Chevy van and a partial license plate number.

Bello was arrested the next day when he pulled up to his residence, in the 2900 block of West 25th Street.

A witness told investigators that Bello had been drinking alcohol shortly before the incident, Cook County prosecutors said at the time. The machine operator was allegedly driving to work, the same route he has taken for two to three years.

Bello ’s Illinois driver’s license was revoked in January 2010 for a DUI arrest in Iowa in Sept. 2009. He was eligible to get his license back in January 2011 but never applied, according to a spokesman for Secretary of State Jesse White. Bello also received court supervision for a 2002 DUI from La Salle County.

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