A mother whose son died in a drunken driving crash said Monday that it's a Chicago Heights police officer, not her ex-boyfriend, who deserves prison time.
Cecil Conner was sentenced last Friday to nine-and-a-half years in prison in connection with the May 10, 2010 crash.
"He would have never drove my car if the cop would have never gave him the keys to my car. My kid would be here today [and] Cecil wouldn't have been in jail," Kathie LaFond said at the Loop office of her attorney.
LaFond's son, 5-year-old Michael, was asleep in the back seat when the crash crashed into a tree.
Life without him, she said, has been a struggle.
"I’m lost right now, I don’t have my kid. My day to day routines were going to work, and seeing my kid after work, tucking my son into bed. And I don’t get that anymore," said the young Chicago Heights mother, dressed in the uniform she wears to jobs at two different Long John Silver’s restaurants.
The night of the crash, Chicago Heights Police Officer Chris Felicetti pulled LaFond over and arrested her for driving with a suspended license.
She blames the officer for handing over her keys to a heavily intoxicated Conner, then 22, after telling the officer she was the designated driver.
"That’s when I grabbed my keys and told him again [that] he cannot drive my car, he has been drinking. And that’s when he said, 'Everything is going to be under control,'" she recalled.
In legal filings, Chicago Heights has contended LaFond wanted Conner to drive her son home that night. At Conner’s sentencing, Will County Judge Edward Burmilla indicated LaFond bears some of the blame.
"This police officer might have prevented this offense, but he did not cause it," stated Burmilla.
However, LaFond’s attorney, Mark Horowitz, countered that Officer Felicetti bears all of the responsibility.
"He controlled the situation. He’s the one that pulled her over. He could have ‘A’ told Kathie to drive the child home. He could have given her a ticket roadside. He could have said go home, don’t let me catch you out again," he said.
LaFond has filed a wrongful death civil suit against Felicetti and the city of Chicago Heights.