Chicago police officer John Ardelean was cleared of all charges against him stemming from a DUI crash on Thanksgiving Day 2007 in which two men were killed. The families of the two men were shocked and outraged by the dismissal but were told that they could continue on with a civil suit against the officer.
Ardelean was on his was home from the Martini Ranch tavern shortly before 3 a.m. when he allegedly swerved into the oncoming lane at speeds in excess of 60 mph, passing a car that had slowed down to park. Ardelean’s SUV allegedly crashed into a car driven by Erick Lagunas as it ran a stop sign at Damen and Oakdale avenues. Miguel Flores was a passenger in the vehicle. Both men were killed in the accident.
Prosecutors were unable to use key evidence in the case after it had been thrown out by a Cook County judge and had no choice but to drop the aggravated DUI and reckless homicide charges against Ardelean. The judge had previously ruled that there was no probable cause to detain him and, as a result, any evidence of the Ardelean’s BAC could not be introduced. Ardelean is on administrative leave due to a pending internal affairs investigation by the Chicago Police Department.
Cop walks as DUI charges dropped in fatal ’07 crash, suntimes.com, June 5, 2010
Charges dropped against Chicago cop accused of killing two while driving drunk, chicagotribune.com, June 4, 2010