Drunken Driving Suspect Never Said He'd Been Drinking: Detective

Steger police detective testifies during second day in Cecil Conner's trial

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2011  |  Updated 3:44 PM CDT
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Drunken Driving Suspect Never Said He'd Been Drinking: Detective

Will County Sheriff

Cecil Conner, 22, is charged with reckless homicide and driving under the influence for his role in a crash that killed a 5-year-old boy in Steger last May.

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A man on trial for the drunken driving crash that killed his then-girlfriend's 5-year-old son didn't tell a Chicago Heights officer he'd been drinking that evening, the lead detective on the case testified Tuesday.

That detective, Peter Fajman, told the jury during the second day of testimony in Cecil Conner's trial that Conner made the admission to him.

But Conner's attorney said Fajman's conversation with the defendant was being misinterpreted.

"That statement needs to be taken in context.  The statement that was tendered to the defense in this case was that he never said one way or another.  The way that it seemed to come out on the stand was as if Mr. Connor affirmatively said, 'No, I never told him anything," said Jeff Tomczak.

Conner is charged reckless homicide and driving under the influence following a May 2010 crash in Steger that killed 5-year-old Michael Langford. 

Conner admits he was drunk but says he was forced to drive by police after the boy's mother, Kathie LaFond, was pulled over in Chicago Heights and arrested for driving with a suspended license.

After the crash, that Chicago Heights officer could be heard in a radio call with a Chicago Heights dispatcher changing his story when he learns the evening's chain of events.

"He was alright when I turned [the car] over to him," the officer is heard saying.

It's a statement that was corroborated by police reports that say Conner never admitted to being drunk. 

Tomczak said officers should have known better.

"But for the actions of the Chicago Heights police officer, this tragedy would have never occurred," he said.

Upcoming testimony for the prosecution will likely include LaFond, who ultimately could wind up being an important witness for both sides of the case.

"We believe that she is going to testify that she does not hold Cecil at fault for this accident.  That's our belief as to what her testimony is going to be," said Tomczak.

If convicted, Conner faces 14 years in prison.

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