Suspect in fatal Steger crash gets $500K bond

May 11, 2010 (STEGER, Ill.)

Cecil Conner, 22, is charged with four counts of aggravated DUI in connection with the deadly crash. Police say the south suburban man had a blood alcohol level that was three times the legal limit when he crashed into a tree early Monday morning .

The crash took place after police had given Conner the keys to his girlfriend's car following the woman's earlier arrest during a traffic stop.

Conner appeared in court via closed circuit TV Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutors asked for $1 million bond before the judge set bond at $500,000.

Some of Conner's family members believe he is not the only one responsible for the death of 5-year-old Michael Langford. The little boy is being remembered with stuffed animals, flowers, and candles at the crash site. His grandfather can't figure out who is to blame for his grandson's death.

"There is too much anger right now and it's hard. Just wish to God it had never happened. I just wish it never happened, that's all," said Duane LaFond, the victim's grandfather.

Langford was killed forty minutes after a Chicago Heights police officer gave Conner the keys to his car after taking his girlfriend, Kathie LaFond, into custody for a suspended license. Chicago Heights police say the officer did not smell any alcohol or see any visible impairment at the time of the traffic stop. In addition, police say LaFond gave the officer verbal permission to let Conner drive the car with her son in it.

Despite that, the Will County state's attorney says some red flags should have gone up.

"A child out at 3 o'clock in the morning and they're not traveling, they're local residents, should have raised some level of inquiry," said Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow.

The question remains if it was possible for Conner to drink that much between the Chicago Heights traffic stop and the Steger crash. Conner's cousin says all the drinking was done at a party prior to the traffic stop.

"They had a half gallon of brandy, a case of beer, a couple 40s and a pint. The pint, I'm not sure what it was and he did have a little THC in him," said Tim Root, Conner's cousin. "The mother knew he was intoxicated. The mother picked him up from the party. She was the designated driver."

LaFond told ABC7 that she asked the arresting officers to make sure her son got home safely.

The Chicago Heights Police Department released a statement Tuesday that reads, in part, "Ms. LaFond gave us no indication that Conner was impaired or that he had been previously drinking." Chicago Heights police also say that she gave the police officer at the scene verbal permission to give Conner the keys. She plans on filing a civil suit Wednesday against Conner and the Chicago Heights Police Department.

"All they want right now is they want justice for their deceased child who happened to be Kathy's only son," said Mark Horowitz, LaFond's attorney.

Horowitz said he does not believe LaFond bears any bears any responsibility in the case.

The Will County state's attorney says that everything is under investigation, including the events leading up to the crash.

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