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CHICAGO (STMW) – An off-duty Chicago Police officer charged in a deadly drunken driving accident wasn’t intoxicated and was only trying to avoid the 13-year-old boy riding his bike on the wrong side of Ashland when the officer struck and killed him, the cop’s attorney said at the first day of his trial Tuesday.
Richard Bolling, 42, passed all field sobriety tests before he was given a Breathalyzer test following the May 22, 2009 accident at 81st and Ashland, Tom Needham said in his opening statements.
Bolling has asked “for no special favors” and was in a state of “complete horror, fear and grief” when fellow officers told him Trenton Booker had died, Needham said.
But prosecutors painted a different picture. Before he heard about the fatality, all Bolling cared about was the damage to his Dodge Charger and when he could eat the White Castle meal officers found next to an open bottle of beer in his car, assistant Cook County state’s attorney Ashley Romito said.
Bolling didn’t undergo field sobriety tests until two hours after the accident and he wasn’t given a Breathalyzer test until 4 ½ hours later, Romito said.
His blood alcohol level registered at .079 — just a bit shy of the .08 legal intoxication level. Had Bolling been given the test sooner, his blood alcohol level would have been higher, Romito argued.
Bolling, who is expected to take the stand during the trial, admits he consumed a mixed drink and bottle of beer with friends at a South Side bar before the fatal wreck, Needham said.
The officer also grabbed a bottle of beer the bartender had given him on the way out and took a few sips, Needham said.
But Bolling was far from intoxicated when he drove southbound on Ashland, Needham said, saying that the Breathalyzer test was not accurate.
Trenton and a friend were riding their bicycles northbound on the southbound lanes on Ashland when Bolling swerved, trying to avoid hitting them, Needham said.
Bolling kept driving at a high rate of speed after he hit Trenton, sending him airborne like a helicopter, Romito said.
“He should of stopped but he didn’t. He was in a state of shock,” Needham explained.
Trenton’s mother, Barbara Norman, wept as she testified Tuesday that she didn’t know her son had snuck out and was riding his bicycle at 1:30 a.m.
Miles Roberts, who had just left a nearby dance club, said he was irritated to see two boys riding their bicycles on a sidewalk well past curfew.
But what he saw next was even more horrifying.
“I heard a loud thump,” Roberts said, describing the impact between Bolling’s speeding Charger and Trenton’s bicycle.
“I screamed, ‘No!’”
Bolling has been charged with reckless homicide, aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.
The trial continued Tuesday afternoon.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)