DUI, Reckless Homicide Charges Tossed Out Against Officer
By Karl Klockars in News on Jun 4, 2010 7:30PM
A few weeks ago, when Judge Thomas Gainer tossed out evidence in the case of Officer John Ardelean and the 2007 crash which took the lives of two people, the message was clear - this case is all but over. Today, as reported by Chicago Breaking News, that eventuality was made reality. Judge Gainer threw out the charges of DUI and reckless homicide, letting Officer Ardelean off the hook for the crash that ended the lives of Miguel Flores and Erick Lagunas.
Ardelean was filmed allegedly tossing back shots of "water" at River North's Martini Ranch directly before hopping in his vehicle and driving away. No, seriously. Water. He then reportedly crashed into the sedan carrying Flores and Lagunas at Damen and Oakdale. Officers who responded to the crash, two of whom knew Ardelean, didn't test Ardelean for DUI, saying they didn't think alcohol was a factor. Seven hours later, Lt. John Magruder ordered Ardelean arrested having smelled alcohol and noting Ardelean's bloodshot eyes. He was then issued a Breathalyzer, which he passed.
Judge Gainer, who was also the judge for the Jefferson Tap assault case, decided there was no probable cause and ordered the evidence tossed. Without that evidence, prosecutors had to decide if they wanted to go forward with the case. Today, they announced the answer was "no." FOX News Chicago obtained security video from Martini Ranch on the night in question. You be the judge.
When the evidence was thrown out on April 27th, relatives of the victims lashed out, calling Ardelean "murderer" and starting a scuffle that ended up with minor injuries, scratches and a broken finger, but no charges filed against the family members. Today, they just left, in tears.