On Monday, 32-year-old Daniel Clark pleaded guilty in the crash that killed Frank Caruso. In February of 2012, Clark was driving drunk on the Eisenhower Expressway when he hit a police car.
Caruso was waiting in the police car for a tow after he was in another minor crash. A state trooper was seriously injured in the crash.
Prosecutors say Clark admitted to having five glasses of wine before getting behind the wheel. They say his blood alcohol level was .249, more than three times the legal level.
Caruso had survived a serious accident on the icy highway minutes earlier without a scratch.
Caruso, 42, was the youngest of six children.
"Anger will not bring him back, but forgiveness hopefully will ease our pain," said Mary Ann Caruso, mother.
Sitting in a state trooper's car after his own car had been wrecked in a crash minutes earlier, Caruso told his girlfriend by phone he was safe.
"The last thing he said was the cops are here," said Cynthia Avalos, girlfriend. "So I was heading out to meet him, resting assured he was safe. The cops were there."
Even though police had closed two lanes of Interstate 290 because of the earlier accident, he was not safe from the alleged drunk driver who ignored the lights and plowed into the back of the squad car, killing Caruso and injuring the trooper. Clark, of Chicago, was charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence.
Caruso left behind a son and infant grandson Mateo. Caruso's father died three weeks before the crash from cancer.
"This didn't have to happen," said Anna Marie Caruso, sister. "It didn't have to happen."