An off-duty Chicago Police detective has been charged with DUI and reckless homicide after plowing a SUV into the back of a disabled car on the Dan Ryan Expressway early Friday, killing two people in a fiery crash.
Joseph Frugoli, 41, of the Bridgeport area, was charged Friday night with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence, two counts of reckless homicide and one count of leaving the scene of an accident, said Sally Daly, spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. He will appear in Central Bond Court at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California Saturday morning.
Frugoli was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where tests indicated his blood-alcohol level was about triple the legal limit of .08, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The 41-year-old officer walked away from the crash, but was picked up after IDOT workers saw him walking along the expressway.
The two victims were sitting on the right side of the Dan Ryan just before 4 a.m. when a Lexus sport-utility vehicle slammed into the back of their Dodge Intrepid near the 18th Street exit ramp.
The car was left completely demolished and burned, and looked like a mangled pile of ashes, according to a witness.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the deaths and, late Friday, identified the victims as 21-year-old Fausto Manzera, of Chicago, and 23-year-old Andrew Cazaras, who lived in the 7700 block of West 62nd Place in southwest suburban Summit. Cazaras' family said he was driving the car and may have had a flat tire.
Police said another motorist stopped and helped the officer get out of his black SUV. The officer then tried to flee the scene on foot, but police quickly apprehended him.
State Police spokesmen confirmed that the SUV driver was a 41-year-old Chicago cop, who has been on the force for 18 years. The officer most recently worked in the Area 1 Detective Division.
The Chicago Police Department issued a statement following the crash saying that "an off-duty Department member is in custody in connection with the traffic accident that occurred this morning on the Dan Ryan Expressway ... The involved Department member will be relieved of his police powers."
Autopsies are scheduled for the two victims later Friday, the medical examiner’s office said.
Illinois State Police are investigating the crash, and the Chicago Police Department has also opened a separate internal affairs investigation. Police would not comment on whether alcohol or speed played a part in the crash.