For Kathie LaFond, life without her 5-year-old son remains just as tough today as it was the day he died.
"He meant the world to me," she said Friday of her son, Michael Langford. "He was smart. He was so excited to go to school this August."
Since the May 10 crash, LaFond has maintained she told Chicago Heights police that her boyfriend, Cecil Conner, was too drunk to drive her car. She had been pulled over and arrested, accused of driving on a suspended license.
Conner was given the keys and crashed the Chevy Cavalier into a tree in Steger about 30 minutes later. The boy is believed to have died instantly.
For the first time, LaFond spoke publicly Friday about a key interview included in the report from the Steger Police Department in which an investigator summarizes a conversation he had with LaFond after the crash. The report says that LaFond admitted at the time to not telling the officer that Conner had been drinking and gave permission for him to drive away.
But according to LaFond, that conversation never took place.
"I never talked to anybody while I was in there," she said. "Nobody. No police officer. Nobody."
Steger dispatch recordings indicate that officers immediately knew Conner was drunk.
"My driver's intoxicated. I've got a vehicle about 20 feet into the yard with a 5-year-old in the backseat," a Steger police officer who responded to the crash is recorded saying. "This guy's going to have to, uh, get a DUI and we need his blood because I can smell the alcohol."
But Chicago Heights police apparently never noticed his drunkenness.
"He (Cecil) was alright when I turned it (the car) over to him," an officer said, according to Chicago Heights dispatch recordings.
LaFond's attorney, Mark Horwitz, argues that the two police departments are working hand-in-hand.
"So now you have the other police departments, that know there's going to be a problem and 'going to get ugly,' they have to now start making excuses for what's on the recordings," he said.
Conner's blood alcohol concentration was almost three times the legal limit at the time of the crash, police said.
LaFond is suing Conner and the Chicago Heights Police Department. Conner has been charged with reckless homicide and remains in the Will County Jail.