CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson Says Medication Mix-Up Caused ‘Lightheaded' Feeling While Driving

A passing motorist called 911 and reported that it appeared Johnson was asleep behind the wheel of his car

Chicago police say that Superintendent Eddie Johnson was examined by medical personnel after feeling lightheaded while driving early Thursday morning near his South Side home.

According to a press release issued by the department, Johnson was driving at approximately 12:30 a.m. Thursday when he began to feel lightheaded. Johnson pulled his vehicle over and parked.

A passing motorist called 911 and reported that a person was asleep at the wheel of their car at a stop sign. When officers arrived at the scene, they checked Johnson’s well being and “did not observe any signs of impairment,” according to the press release.

Officers did not administer a breathalyzer test during their examination, Johnson said. 

At a press conference prior to Thursday night's Chicago Police Board meeting, Johnson took the blame for the medical incident, saying that a change in his medication had caused the episode. 

"It's painful to admit this, but when he (my cardiologist) adjusted my medication, I took my old medication out and failed to put my new medication in," he said. 

Johnson said that failure to take his medication caused him to feel lightheaded while driving. 

Johnson said that he had visited a cardiologist on Monday and Tuesday for follow-up appointments after he had been diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung earlier this summer. During his second visit, Johnson's physician changed his blood pressure medication, but the superintendent said he did not take the medication on Wednesday, much to his doctor's consternation. 

A visit to his neurologist on Thursday confirmed his elevated blood pressure, and although his doctor advised him to visit a local emergency room as a precautionary measure, he instead chose to attend the board meeting on Thursday night. 

After the incident, Johnson initiated a review of the event, saying that he wanted to push for "transparency" in the eyes of the public. 

“Whether you are a police officer or a superintendent, all officers ought to be held to the highest standard,” the department quoted Johnson as saying.

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