Officer gets 3 years in deadly DUI crash

March 6, 2012 3:12:22 PM PST
A Chicago Police officer learned his sentence Tuesday for a drunken driving crash that killed a teenager who was riding his bicycle nearly three years ago.

Richard Bolling is sentenced to three years in prison in the death of Trenton Booker.

Officer Bolling was off-duty when he struck the teen and left the scene. He was a 17-year Chicago Police veteran without a blemish on his record. But, May 22, 2009, he made a fatal mistake by driving while drunk and leaving the scene of a deadly accident. It is those actions that caused the judge to sentence him to prison.

Bolling fought back tears as he read a handwritten statement to the court, first apologizing to the family of 13-year-old Booker for the drunken hit-and-run crash that killed the teen in May of 2009. Judge Matthew Coughlin then sentenced Bolling to three years in prison and two years probation after he serves his sentence.

Bolling faced anywhere from probation to 15 years in prison. After the sentencing, Booker's family said they felt Bolling's apology was sincere, but the sentence was too lenient.

"We just wanted the right thing to come out, even though we didn't get the time that we wanted for Richard, but at least we know he's not going home tonight to be with his family," said Terrence Booker, Trenton's father.

"I don't think there's any number that's going to replace the fact that my son is gone," said Barbara Norman, Trenton's mother.

There were accusations that Bolling, a veteran police officer, was given preferential treatment after the accident. Dash cam video was released of Bolling taking a field sobriety test two hours after the accident. He was given a breathalyzer 4 1/2 hours later, and his blood-alcohol level was just under the legal limit.

Bolling had left the scene of the accident. Before was given the sobriety test, Bolling was recorded sobbing in the back of a squad car as he was informed by an officer that Booker had died.

In court, while pleading for probation, Bolling says he showed remorse after the accident.. And Bolling's attorney made note of the outpouring of support his client received from family clergy and colleagues.

"The judge, what he did today, he didn't just sentence Rich Bolling because of what happened on May 2009, he appropriately took into consideration all the other things he's done," said Tom Needham, Bolling's attorney.

As part of his sentence, Bolling will attend alcohol treatment programs and victim impact panels. He will perform 200 hours of community service, 40 of those at the morgue, and he will talk about his experience at high schools as well as the Chicago Police Academy.