Bond set for cop charged in deadly bike crash

May 24, 2009 9:18:45 PM PDT
A Chicago police officer appeared in court Sunday after being charged in an accident that killed a 13-year-old boy.Bond was set at $2 million for Officer Richard Bolling, who is charged with reckless homicide, aggravated DUI, and leaving the scene of an accident.

The officer is accused of hitting 13-year-old Trenton Booker, who was riding a bicycle, early Friday morning near the 8100 block of South Ashland. Booker died in the accident.

Bolling appeared before a judge Sunday 45 minutes ahead of his scheduled time, which upset Booker's family members because they ended up missing the court hearing.

Bolling will get out of jail when his family posts bond. The 39-year-old officer was being housed at the Cook County Jail's Cermak Hospital Sunday night.

In the meantime, the family of the boy says his court appearance added insult to injury, simply because they weren't able to get there. They said a judge took the chance away because he didn't say he was going to move up the hearing time almost an hour.

When asked if he thought the officer could be getting preferential treatment, Trenton Bookers' grandfather said yes.

"I'm very angry. They got stops here for people that have alcohol in the car. And they're supposed to serve and protect, and he had alcohol in his car," said Morris Upton, Booker's grandfather.

The attorney, as well as the family, of the accused Chicago police officer left court without comment Sunday, specifically about the $2 million bond, which is four times the amount fellow Chicago police officer Joseph Frugoli was given after he was charged in a separate accident.

Investigators say it was around 1:30 a.m. Friday as Bolling sped near 81st Street in his 2006 Dodge Charger that he struck and killed Booker, who snuck out of the house to ride a bike with a friend. He was riding in the southbound lane heading north bound. Bolling never slowed down, and officers eventually pulled Bolling over for going the wrong way on a one-way street. Police found an open bottle of beer inside Bolling's damaged car, and his blood-alcohol content was .078 four hours after his arrest.

"I didn't know what to think. Just sorrow came over me," said Martha Buckley, a friend of the officer.

"I didn't know that was him, [that] he was the same person. I wouldn't have guessed it. He is a very nice gentleman," said the officer's neighbor Thelma Johnson.

Back in April, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis talked about the strict police policy that does not allow officers on or off duty to be drunk.

"They're authorized to use deadly force, and when you have that responsibility, it does hold you to a higher standard," Weis said April 13, 2009.

Richard Bollings name can be added to a list of chicago police officers accused of DUI-related accidents. Alcohol abuse within the Chicago Police Department is something top officials are well aware of. The number of officers arrested for DUI almost doubled from 2007 to 2008.

After the Frugoli case, the department planned to increase an existing program that sent counselors to roll calls.

In the meantime, Booker's family struggles with the loss of a child. The 13-year-old was set to graduate eighth grade in a few weeks. He is remembered as a child full of love and life.

"We're not doing well. He was a really good kid," Booker's Aunt Qiana Scott said.

Funeral arrangements for Trenton Booker were still pending Sunday.

Regarding the time change for Sunday's hearing , the Cook County State's Attorney's Office says, many times, start times are at the discretion of a judge.

As a condition of his bond, Officer Bolling, a 17-year veteran of the police department, did have to surrender his service revolver. He has already been stripped of his police powers and is due back in court in one week.


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