$20M Settlement to Families of 2 Men Killed by Chicago Cop’s DUI Crash

The families of two men who died in 2009 when their vehicle was struck by an SUV being driven by a drunken off-duty Chicago police officer will each receive a $10 million settlement in the case.

The fiery crash occurred in April 2009, when the officer’s SUV smashed into the back of a disabled car on the side of the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago, killing Andrew Cazares, 23, the driver of the car, and his passenger, Fausto Manzera, 21, according to a March 1 story by The Chicago Tribune. Cazares’ car had pulled over due to a flat tire when it was struck by a Lexus SUV being driven by off-duty Chicago police Det. Joseph Frugoli, whose 0.328 percent blood alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit of 0.08 percent, the story reported.

The detective had been drinking for nearly five hours at two South Side bars before the crash, according to news reports.

It was not the first time that the officer had driven a vehicle while intoxicated, but he was never previously disciplined by the police department, according to a Feb. 28 story by ABC 7 News in Chicago.

car crash

Photo of damaged car and an ambulance following a car crash.

“Those other accidents included two crashes 24 hours apart in January 2008, where Frugoli was suspected of driving drunk,” the story reported. In addition, Frugoli was involved in a bar fight in 1992 that led to a five-day suspension, but “he was allowed to drive home that night without a field sobriety test,” the story continued.

Frugoli, who was convicted of aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of a fatal accident, was sentenced to eight years in prison at his trial in 2012. He is scheduled to be released in 2019.

The families of the men who were killed in the crash argued in their wrongful death lawsuit that Frugoli’s behavior was protected by a “code of silence” within the Chicago police department to protect one of their own.

The $20 million overall settlement came after it was revealed that key documents involving the bar fight “had been improperly withheld by lawyers for the city,” the Tribune reported. “The file documenting the bar fight showed Frugoli walked into the First Base Tavern in Bridgeport with two friends, smashed bar glasses, broke bar stools and pool cues, punched one man in the face and threw another across the bar into a pool table. When the bartender asked Frugoli to leave, the off-duty officer yelled, ‘Nobody messes with the Frugolis!'”

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in any kind of vehicle incident anywhere in the United States. We pledge to make sure that you and your family get the compassionate, dogged and experienced legal representation that you deserve and expect from a professional legal team which works hard to uncover every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-789-9346 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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