Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Alleging ‘Code of Silence' Led to Fatal Crash

Just before the jury was set to deliberate, a settlement has been reached in the case of a former Chicago police detective who was involved in a fatal accident.

The suit alleged that the Chicago Police Department's "code of silence" allowed detective Joseph Frugoli to escape punishment for drunken driving before he plowed his SUV into a disabled vehicle in April 2009. 

"We were always prepared to take this verdict," Attorney Tim Cavanagh said. "We have been talking to the city this whole time and they accepted responsibility and we accepted a settlement." 

Frugoli's blood-alcohol content was more than four times the legal limit when his SUV crashed into the car, killing two men.

He later pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI in the case and received a sentence of eight years in prison. He is scheduled to be released in 2019. 

Prior to the fatal wreck, Frugoli had escaped discipline despite being suspected of drunken driving twice before.

The lawsuit filed by the families of Andrew Cazares and Fausto Manzera alleged a "code of silence" led Frugoli to believe he could "drink and drive with impunity." 

"The city did not rebut a national expert who went through the city's records and testified that there is a 'code of silence,'" Attorney Kevin Conway said. 

In addition to the allegations of past drunk driving by Frugoli, a bar fight involving the former detective surfaced only after the trial started was also key to the plaintiff's case. 

"The incident that happened in 1992 blew this case wide open and told us definitively that with alcohol related incidents, Joe Frugoli got a pass in 1992," Cavanagh said. 

Details of the settlement have not been made public. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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