The trial of a Steger man charged with the drunk driving death of a 5-year-old child began with a bold claim from his defense team: that he was only behind the wheel because the cops told him to drive.
The crash happened about 40 minutes after Kathy Lafond had been arrested by Chicago Heights police for driving on a suspended license. Conner's attorney says police ordered his client to drive the child home even though his blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit.
In his opening statement, attorney Jeff Tomczack said police on the scene told his client to "get Michael home, or he would be arrested."
Prosecutors say Conner should be held responsible for the crash.
A recording released earlier this month revealed Officer Chris Felicetti, the Chicago Heights police officer who gave the car keys to Conner, speaking with a Chicago Heights dispatcher and seeming surprised Conner got into a crash.
Are you serious?" Felicetti asks.
"Oh my God," he says. "(The driver) was all right when I turned it over to him."
The judge ruled earlier this month that the recording could not be played in the hearing to determine if Steger police had probable cause to arrest Conner.