Suspect testifies at fatal DUI trial

February 18, 2011 4:44:58 PM PST
A man charged with aggravated drunken driving in a crash that killed a 5-year-old boy testified at his trial Friday.

Cecil Conner says a Chicago Heights police officer told him to get behind the wheel and drive after his girlfriend was arrested.

The officer also testified Friday.

Although 23-year-old Conner admitted in court he was intoxicated at the time of the fatal crash, he still blamed rookie Chicago Heights police officer Chris Felicetti of "forcing" him to drive after his girlfriend Kathie Lafond was arrested for driving on a suspended license.

Her 5-yea-old son Michael Langford was asleep, strapped in a car seat in the back of his mother's Chevy Cavalier when authorities say Conner crashed.

"He said he wanted me to drive Michael home and come back and get Kathie," Conner said during questioning by defense attorney Jeff Tomczak. "He told me if I didn't drive, I'dbe arrested."

Investigators say Conner's blood alcohol level was three times over the legal limit after the May 2010 accident.

While on the stand Wednesday, the boy's mother's maintained that she told Felicetti about Conner and was worried about her baby.

"If we assume that Kathie said nothing, what trained police officer would not have detected that there was three times the level of intoxication?" said Lafond's attorney Mark Horwitz.

That supports Conner but contradicts what the arresting police officer has said.

Will County Assistant State's Attorney Debbie Mills asked Felicetti if Lafond told him Conner had been drinking. He replied, 'No she did not."

He also said he never ordered Conner to drive the car away.

Relatives of the boy killed were in court again Friday and while saying there's enough blame to go around hope to see justice done.

"I miss him. I loved him. He was just a baby to me. He was just 5 years old. It terrible," said Michael Langford's great aunt Susan Tripaner.