Cop charged in double-fatal crash

April 10, 2009 8:47:14 PM PDT
An off-duty Chicago police officer, accused of causing a deadly crash, was charged with DUI and reckless homicide on Friday night.Police say Joseph Frugoli crashed his SUV into a car stopped on the side of the Dan Ryan Expressway near 18th Street early Friday morning.

The two men inside the red Dodge Intrepid likely never knew what happened as their gas tank exploded and the car became a fireball.

Andrew Cazares, 23, had called a friend minutes earlier telling him he'd had a flat tire. He pulled over to the side of the Ryan just after 3:30 a.m. That's when a black Lexus SUV slammed into the back.

The SUV was allegedly driven by 41-year-old Joseph Frugoli, an 18 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department who was off duty. Officers arrested him as he allegedly left the scene.

Meantime, Cazares and Fausto Manzera, 21, were trapped inside the burning car.

"He had that a personal way of welcoming others and making people feel part of our group at work, just in general. He definitely was a light to the room with his attitude," said Mindy Evans, fellow DePaul student.

Manzera was a student at DePaul studying art. His close friend Cazares worked in construction and shared the interest in art.

State police went to his family's home on Friday morning to share information with them. The investigation allegedly reveals Frugoli's blood alcohol was three times the legal limit. He has worked most recently as a detective at Area 1 headquarters.

The state's attorney has charged Frugoli with two counts of reckless homicide, two counts of aggravated DUI and one count of leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

Marcus Copeland was nearby the scene and tried to help the two victims.

"It was just the flames, every time I put my hand in there?there was nothing I could do," said Copeland.

The police department has stripped away Frugoli's police power and opened an Internal Affairs investigation.

The officer is due to appear in bond court on Saturday.


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