CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago police officer has been convicted of reckless homicide and drunk driving for running over a teenager riding his bicycle three years ago.
Richard Bolling, who testified in his own defense at trial, was also convicted of leaving the scene of an accident for the May 22, 2009, wreck that killed Trenton Booker, 13.
As CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports, Booker’s family felt they didn’t have a chance, taking on the Chicago Police Department while seeking justice in the death of their son.
It’s a case that made them lose sleep, but on Wednesday, a Cook County jury returned the verdict they were hoping for.
Bolling had admitted to drinking alcohol before driving his Dodge Charger on the night he ran over Booker, but denied he was drunk or that he knew right away he had hit the boy.
But the jury rejected that claim, convicting Bolling after deliberating about nine hours over two days. Bolling’s bond was revoked shortly after the verdict and he was taken into custody, pending a sentencing hearing next month.
Authorities said Bolling struck Booker with so much force, his bike was knocked underneath a parked SUV. Booker’s family said every bone in his body was broken by the impact.
“It was devastating. It’s still devastating to this day,” Booker’s father, Terrence Booker said after the verdict.
With a veteran police officer accused of being drunk when he ran Trenton Booker down and killed him, the boy’s family questioned if they would ever see justice.
“It has been many, many days where none of us have been able to sleep. We have just been worried,” his grandmother Deborah Upton said.
“It’s been draining,” his father said. “Not knowing is the worst part.”
Prosecutors said Bolling got preferential treatment from responding police officers. He wasn’t given a field sobriety test for two hours after the crash and didn’t take a breathalyzer test for more than four hours.
That test showed him just below the legal limit, but a state expert testified if he’d tested at the time of the crash – it could have shown him at as much as twice the legal limit.
Booker’s father and grandmother embraced many times in the courthouse during the trial, holding on to their hope that the jury would see the truth.
“We basically had felt that no way would they convict him,” his grandmother said.
Even after the verdict, they said they can’t believe an officer sworn to protect and serve ran over the teenager they loved and left him to suffer.
“If you just hit a dog in the street, you’d pull over, you know what I’m saying? See how … that injured animal was doing, so that just speaks volumes,” his father said. “I don’t have to bash him, but that speaks volumes of an individual that does that.”
Bolling, 42, faces up to 15 years in prison.