Last year a Chicago, Illinois car crash early Thanksgiving morning resulted in the death of 2 people, and the off duty Chicago police officer that caused the collision was charged with DUI, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The DUI charges against the officer were dismissed last week at a preliminary hearing, as Judge Donald Panarese said there was no indication Officer John Ardelean, 34, was intoxicated at the time of the crash.
The motor vehicle collision occurred in the 2900 block of North Damen in Chicago, Illinois when the officer who was traveling northbound in his SUV crossed the center line and struck a southbound Pontiac. Witnesses also saw the defendant speeding and driving erratically just before the accident.
Ardelean had also been caught on video drinking at a bar shortly before the crash. However, the bartender where he had been drinking testified that the defendant did not appear to be intoxicated. Police officers that responded to the accident scene also testified that Ardelean did not appear to be under the influence.
The two men that were killed in the car crash were Miguel Flores, 22, and Erick Lagunas, 21, and they were life long friends from Cicero, Illinois. The defendant officer is assigned to the Belmont district and has been relieved of his police powers pending the results of an internal investigation.
As far as a civil case is concerned, the families of the deceased have already hired a Chicago wrongful death lawyer to represent them. The dismissal at the preliminary hearing should have no effect on the wrongful death claim against the officer. While there does not appear to be strong evidence of a DUI in this matter, there is evidence of negligence.