Alcohol played a role in the death of a north suburban police officer who died early Saturday in a single-car crash in Gurnee, the Lake County Coroner’s office reported Tuesday.
“I can’t give you the [blood-alcohol level] because the investigation is still ongoing, but unfortunately alcohol was a contributing factor in the accident and he was over the legal limit,” chief deputy coroner Orlando Portillo told the News-Sun about the death of Waukegan officer Jason Mueller.
On Monday, Portillo said the office’s toxicology equipment was not working and results from tests were to take four weeks at an outside laboratory. He said Tuesday the equipment was fixed and the tests on Mueller were run.
Mueller, of Grayslake, was found about 2:30 a.m. July 12 in Gurnee after another driver reported a Nissan Xterra SUV against a ComEd utility pole about 20 feet off the roadway, Gurnee Deputy Chief Saundra Campbell said.
Mueller was ejected from the vehicle, according to the coroner’s office.
Campbell said Mueller was traveling west on Washington Street and went off the road near Hillview Drive, the last street before Washington curves into Route 45.
Mueller, who was a first-year officer, was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he later died, Campbell said.
Initial examination “clearly shows the cause of death was head trauma after he was ejected out of the vehicle,” Portillo said Monday.
Mueller was hired as an officer in Waukegan in September 2013 and assigned to the department’s Patrol Division, Waukegan police said.
He served in the Army from 2006-12 as an Army Ranger, doing two tours of active combat duty in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.
Mueller is survived by his wife, Katie, and young daughter, Ava.
The crash remains under investigation, Campbell said, and it’s unknown where Mueller was coming from or going at the time.
“Although Officer Mueller was with the WPD for less than a year, he will be greatly missed,” Chief Wayne Walles said in the statement. “He was known as an aggressive officer that loved working out in his down time.”