Update on Chicago Police Officer John Ardelean
Officer Charged (Again) in Connection with Fatal Crash
In prior blog entries we followed the investigation involving Chicago police officer John Ardelean, who was initially charged with a misdemeanor count of drunk driving in connection with the Thanksgiving Day crash that killed two men from Cicero. At the time of his arrest Ardelean declined to take a field-sobriety test and did not submit to a blood alcohol test until nearly eight hours following the crash. Results of the blood alcohol test showed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .032, well below the legal limit of .08. However, the prosecution’s investigator asserted that at the time of the crash, Ardelean’s BAC was .104 to .177. At the preliminary hearing, charges against Ardelean were dismissed due to lack of evidence.
Last week, following further investigation, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office did an abrupt about-face, indicting Ardelean on charges of reckless homicide and aggravated DUI in connection with the case. Investigators had closed the case in May, telling the family of the deceased men there was insufficient evidence to charge Ardelean. The investigation was reopened last month after video from the bar where Ardelean was drinking shortly before the accident surfaced on a local television station. Members of the Cook County state’s attorney’s office claimed they did not view the entire tape before it aired on television, and based on the full video, the prosecutors reopened the investigation. Both Ardelean and the families of the deceased dispute this account and contend the prosecutors had the full version of the video all along.
Ardelean is scheduled for arraignment on October 1st. We’ll continue to keep you updated on the developments with this very interesting case.
Teen Sentenced to Probation in Fatal DUI Crash
Also in the news this week: A Cook County Circuit Judge sentenced an 18 year-old teen from Melrose Park to 30 months of probation in connection with the fatal DUI crash in Oak Park that killed the teen’s father. The teen pled guilty to aggravated driving under the influence. The judge noted that ordinarily a prison sentence of 3 to 14 years is required in cases of aggravated DUI where a fatality has occurred, unless there are “extraordinary circumstances.” The judge stated that there were extraordinary circumstances in this case because the father has also legally intoxicated and asked his son to drive.
According to the state’s attorney’s office, the father offered his son, who was then 17, a beer. The two proceeded to drink several beers together at the father’s home in Melrose Park and at another residence in Cicero. The teen drove the family’s Ford Explorer home while his father slept in the passenger seat. The teen was driving 40-45 m.p.h. in a 25 mile zone when he hit a dip in the road and lost control, flipping the vehicle. The teen’s blood alcohol level was .164, slightly less than his father’s blood alcohol level of .168.
In addition to 30 months of probation, the teen has been ordered to perform community service.
If you have been accused of a violation of Illinois’ DUI laws, contact me for immediate assistance.