Driver Was Drunk, High; Cop Let Him Go Anyway

Police allowed Conner to leave scene of earlier arrest

By Christian Farr
|  Thursday, Jul 15, 2010  |  Updated 9:41 PM CDT
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Michael Langford, 5, was killed in a drunken driving crash this morning.

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The man accused of smashing his Chevrolet Cavalier into a tree early Monday morning, killing his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son, was drunk and high on marijuana, Steger police say.

Cecil Conner, 22, was reported three-times over the legal limit when he rammed his car into a tree at Steger Road and Carpenter Street at 3:30 a.m.  Steger police also say he had marijuana in his system.

Michael Langford, the 5-year-old who died in the crash, never stood a chance, police said. He was strapped into a booster seat at the time of the accident. 

Conner has been charged with reckless homicide.

Police said that Kathie LaFond, the mother of Michael, was pulled over 30 minutes before the crash in nearby Chicago Heights for suspended or no license.

She was arrested and Michael and Cecil were allowed to take the car, according to Steger police.

A friend of the couple, Dan D'Andrea, said he was with the couple until about 2:30 a.m. D'Andrea said Conner was intoxicated and doesn't understand how he was allowed behind the wheel.

The officer involved in the initial traffic stop has been on the force for two years and was shaken after learning about the accident.  Chicago Heights Police Chief Michael Camilli said the young officer had Conner walk and talk and deemed him sober.

The department has launched an internal investigation to determine if proper procedures were followed.

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