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Judge tosses arrest of cop accused in fatal DUI crash

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posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 10:12 AM

Family members then arrested for being upset

For more than two years, the families of two young men killed in a Thanksgiving Day collision with an off-duty Chicago police officer have fought to prove the officer was drunk and responsible for the deaths.

But Tuesday, a Cook County judge handed them their latest setback, saying the officer was arrested and detained without probable cause, a ruling the families fear guts the prosecution's case.

Several relatives of one victim erupted in anger at the decision, shouting obscenities and scuffling with court deputies, creating a scene that revealed the raw emotions behind the long and controversial case.

Three relatives of Miguel Flores, 22, who was killed in the 2007 crash, were taken to a holding cell in the Criminal Courts Building but later released. The sheriff's office said it would not press charges even though two deputies were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

"It's a slap in the face," said Jose Lagunas, father of the second victim, Erick Lagunas, 21. "We are the ones suffering and then the deputies come after us."

Circuit Judge Thomas Gainer ruled police had no probable cause to arrest off-duty Officer John Ardelean, 36.

Ardelean initially was charged with misdemeanor drunken driving, but by January 2008 the charges were upgraded to felony counts of aggravated driving under the influence.

Prosecutors cited a video recording from a nightclub they said showed Ardelean drinking three beers and four shots in a little more than two hours. Shortly after that, his SUV slammed into the victims' car at Damen and Oakdale avenues while traveling more than 60 mph, authorities said.

The next month, a judge dismissed the charges, not convinced by a prosecution expert who calculated that Ardelean's blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash would have been above the legal threshold. He had been ordered by a superior to give a Breathalyzer test nearly eight hours after the crash, but Ardelean was well below the legal threshold.

So they have this guy on tape showing him drinking at least 7 drinks within a 2 hour periods. They don't give him a breathalyzer for 8 hours. They throw out the charges due to insufficient evidence. They arrest the family members for complaining about the verdict.
Yet the judge here says he doesn't see any signs of a conspiracy.

[edit on 28-4-2010 by webpirate]

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 10:14 AM
It's not a conspiracy, this is how the law opperates. Protecting their own at any cost, no matter how stupid the verdict is. Polcie can happily and routinely kill people, and get away with it. It's just how they work.

I hope this pig realises one day what he's done, and tops himself in shame.

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 10:36 AM
I agree with Acid. It's a shame but cops do tend to stick with each other. Even the good ones get caught just being silent in the face of the inequities. In Cincinnati Ohio, cops kill people and the arguement is always, "Well they have a right to protect themselves.". 6 cops against 1 guy on the ground and they have to kill him to protect themselves. Sorry I don't buy it. It's a whitewash.

posted on Apr, 28 2010 @ 03:09 PM
Would you appreciate being charged if the police/DA had insufficient evidence?

None of the four police officers at the crash scene -- or a responding Chicago Fire Department emergency medical technician -- reported noticing any sign that Ardelean was drunk.

I'll tell you with 95% certainty how this happens: upon arrival at the collision a tenured officer probably told the off duty officer Ardelean to refuse medical treatment and sit somewhere out of the way, head down "sulking"... viola! nobody observes signs of intoxication.

Cops have 5th amendment rights too, when asked "what happened?" by the collision investigator, Ardelean can refuse to say a word.. a superior can "order" Ardelean to talk or face insubordination, but anything Ardelean says under order is inadmissible in court.

Mucking up vital aspects of a case isn't that hard if you know all your rights and the rules of the justice game..

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