A Glenview man who once beat the rap in a controversial drug case, was ordered held on $200,000 bond Friday in connection with a violent August 26th accident which killed a 48-year-old Chicago woman.
Joseph Sperling, 26, was accused of slamming into a car driven by Denise Cavada, at speeds in excess of 90 miles an hour. Cavada’s car was split in half and burst into flames, killing Cavada, who was on her way home from a night of bingo.
Sperling was further accused of fleeing the scene, hiding out for the last two weeks before turning himself in to Morton Grove police on Thursday.
“Witnesses attempted to aid Denise, but the fire was too consuming,” prosecutor Diane Sheridan told Judge Alexandra Gillespie. “His goal was to go out to bars, drink alcohol, and drive really really fast!”
Two years ago in the same Skokie courthouse, Sperling was freed from drug charges, after a group of police officers were confronted with evidence that they had lied in open court.
The dramatic revelation that the officers had allegedly lied during testimony came in April of 2014, when the officers, from Chicago and Glenview, testified in a case where a bag of marijuana was found in Sperling’s car. The pot was never in dispute. But the officers testified that they pulled Sperling over under the pretense of a traffic stop, asked for his license and insurance, allowed him to exit his vehicle and walk to the rear, then removed the bag. Only then, they said, did they arrest and cuff him.
But during the rebuttal case, Sperling’s lawyer Steven Goldman confronted one of the officers with dashboard video from her squad car, which clearly showed the officers approaching Sperling’s car and immediately taking him out of the car and putting him in handcuffs. The video showed that was when they began searching, finding the bag in the back seat.
“Obviously this is very outrageous conduct,” an angry judge Christine Haberkorn said at the time. “State, I expect you to do something about this, and to talk to all the superiors involved in this case. All of the officers lied on the stand today!”
The officers ultimately faced charges of perjury and official misconduct. The charges against Sperling were dropped, he sued the officers and eventually reached a $195,000 settlement.
In the latest case, Sperling’s bond was set at $200,000, with a provision that he be held on electronic monitoring and that he not drive a car if he is able to post bail.
“I think the facts will come out that the actions of my client were not as egregious as they claimed,” attorney Goldman said after court. “They claim that my client was intoxicated and I think it’s going to come out that he really was not.”
Asked why his client fled such a violent accident, Goldman said it was a combination of “fear and shock.”
Sperling faces charges of reckless homicide, aggravated driving under the influence, and leaving the scene of a fatal crash. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.