Accused Cop Mum After Monday Court Date - NBC Chicago

Accused Cop Mum After Monday Court Date

Sunday's chaotic scene avoided as case continued until May 1



    A Chicago police detective accused in a drunken crash that killed two people made a quick court appearance Monday, one day after the courthouse erupted in chaos when he was released on bond.

    Security was tight for Monday's hearing, which was continued to a later date. Family of the victims were ushered in and out quickly to avoid a repeat of Sunday.

    Joseph Frugoli appeared head down, wearing a trench coat, tasseled loafers and wire rim glasses.  Neither he nor his attorney said anything outside of the courtroom.

    The judge granted a request by prosecutors to continue the case until May 1.

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    Frugoli, 41, crashed his sport utility vehicle into a car parked along an expressway Friday, killing the driver, 23-year-old Andrew Cazares of Summit, and passenger Fausto Manzera, 21, of Chicago. Frugoli is charged with reckless homicide, aggravated driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a fatal crash.

    Frugoli had a blood-alcohol level of about three times the legal limit, authorities said.

    After Sunday's bond hearing, the victims' friends and family expressed outraged with the $500,000 bond. Some shouted harsh words like "pigs" and "cowards" at Frugoli and at the police in general, the Tribune noted.

    Sheriff's officers pushed the crowd outside the Cook County courthouse's main entrance, where the yelling continued. Police chased one man, forced him to the ground and then pulled him into the courthouse for what they said was a violent threat.

    "All the cops ran and chased him down like he's a criminal. The criminal is in there, free. That's where the criminal is. This kid didn't do anything -- nothing," said Ken Dennison, a friend of the Cazares family.

    The man was held for a short time and then released without charges.

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    Because of Frugoli's history of traffic violations and crashes, the victims' family and friends said he shouldn't have had a driver's license.

    "It took the death of these two wonderful kids to get him off the street," Dennison said. "This guy should be in jail. How many times has he been let loose?"

    Dennison was referring to a Sun-Times report that Frugoli has been involved in several serious crashes over the years, including one on the Dan Ryan, close to where Friday's fatal crash happened, and another that injured two Chicago cops.

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    Frugoli's lawyer said that history doesn't matter.

    "The detective has served the city for 18 years with honor and distinction," attorney Greg Smith said. "We've all had traffic tickets, we've all had personal issues."

    In court, Frugoli's lawyer said the victims' car was stopped in the right lane of traffic, not on the side. Frugoli walked from the scene because he was disoriented, not because he was trying to flee, Smith said.

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    Contrary to the angry words from many of the victims' family and friends, Cazares' father and uncle said they respect the judge's bond decision and disagreed with the group's behavior.

    "It's not the way their death and this whole tragic situation should be handled," said Cazares' uncle, Eric Franko.