On October 2, Judge Thomas Gainer set bail at $50,000 for a Chicago police officer who held DUI charges which were dismissed against him in a November crash on the 2900 block of North Daman which caused fatalities. Even after this incident the same officer was indicted last week in the same Roscoe Village car accident which ended the lives of two men. Judge Gainer also rejected a request from prosecutors to confiscate John Ardelean’s service weapon.
Ardelean is facing charges of reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence in the crash early last November which killed Miguel Flores, 22, and Erick Lagunas, 21. His original charge was a misdemeanor until they were lifted to a felony of aggravated DUI but then dismissed last February by Cook County Judge Don Panarese, who ruled there was no indication that the off-duty officer was intoxicated. A testimony provided that Michael Lagunas blew a stop sign and that Ardelean’s blood alcohol level was .032, which factored into the judge’s decision.
Despite February’s decision, there are high suspicions that Officer John Ardelean received preferential treatment in the case. In fact there are even witness accounts claiming Ardelean was driving around 60 miles an hour on the strip of Damen Avenue near Oakdale, and proceeding to weave across the center line of the two-lane road trying to pass other cars when his SUV hit the Pontiac.
Nancy Flores, the sister of the deceased Miguel Flores claims “Every day I have to come into this house and every day I have to remind myself that he’s not here. And Ardelean is walking around like he did nothing wrong. And that’s not right.”
To spite the ruling, new evidence has surfaced revealing the defendant consuming alcoholic substances, in the amount of five shots as well as other drinks, in the hours prior to the accident. The prosecutors have reopened their investigation after being alerted to an elongated service tape provided by Martini Ranch of 311 W. Chicago.