Death benefits of Cook County sheriff deputy killed in crash in question, colleagues say

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Colleagues of a Cook County sheriff's deputy who was killed last week in a crash en route to work are upset because they say the department has determined he was not technically on-duty.

Nick Theofanopoulos, 39, was in his uniform on Monday when an alleged drunken driver fatally struck him in Chicago's Mt. Greenwood neighborhood. Driver Monzerat Perez, 21, allegedly had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit and has been charged.

Theofanopoulos's co-workers said they believe his family will not receive benefits if his death is classified as being off-duty. When an officer dies in the line of duty, they get a funeral with full honors as well as generous death benefits for their family.

RELATED: Cook County deputy killed in head-on crash in Mt. Greenwood

However, Sunday night, a Cook County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said the department has made no official determination about whether the officer was on duty.

Theofanopoulos family declined to comment.

The officer was single with no children, but colleagues worry that if the department does classify the death as being off-duty, it sets a worrisome precedent.

On Sunday, hundreds of family, relatives and fellow officers paid their respects during a visitation.

Funeral services are scheduled for Monday morning.

The family has asked that he be buried in his uniform.
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