Steger Man Sentenced To 9.5 Years In DUI Wreck That Killed Boy

JOLIET (CBS) — A Steger man who was drunk when he caused a crash that killed a 5-year-old boy has been sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison.

Cecil Conner, 24, was sentenced on Friday by Judge Edward Burmila. Conner caused a crash that killed Michael Langford Jr., who was sleeping in the backseat of his car.

A jury found Conner guilty of two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in February 2011.

“Judge Burmila handed down an appropriate sentence for a drunken driver whose actions claimed the life of an innocent child,” said Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.

“Cecil Conner knowingly sped through a residential neighborhood while he was highly intoxicated. He alone is responsible for losing control of his vehicle, crashing through a fence, striking a tree and causing Michael’s death.”

Conner’s blood-alcohol level was later tested at .180, more than twice the legal limit.

Michael suffered a broken neck and severe head injuries in the wreck. Michael was the son of Conner’s girlfriend.

Conner had been drinking at a friend’s home the prior evening and into the morning of the crash. His girlfriend, Kathie LaFond, brought her son with her to pick Conner up.

LaFond, however, was pulled over by a Chicago Heights police officer on the way home while Conner was in the passenger seat. She was arrested for driving without a valid license; the car was turned over to Conner at the traffic stop.

At trial, defense attorneys failed to convince jurors that the police officer was solely responsible for the fatal crash.

Prosecutors argued that LaFond and Conner failed to tell the officer Conner was drunk. They argued the defendant chose to drive for 28 minutes after the traffic stop and then chose to speed through the streets before causing the one-car wreck that claimed Michael’s life.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • inalienablewrights

    Before the flames start … yes Conner bore some responsibility but the fact remains that if the cop had not violated his girlfriends right to travel the child would be alive. They were trying to do the right thing until a storm trooper interfered.

    • Roberta Waker

      wrights. I have to agree with you on this point, i.e., the police officer SHOULD have smelled alcohol on Conner’s breath and allowed his girlfriend to drive home. While there are a lot of good, conscientious police officers out there, some don’t want to do their jobs. When my vehicle was struck in the rear and pushed 15-20 feet into another vehicle that then struck another vehicle because the driver wasn’t paying attention, he was allowed to leave the scene after being ticketed for a revoked license, no insurance, speeding, and failure to slow down to avoid an accident. The “officer” let him drive away from the scene after causing about $40K in property damage AND injuries. Because WE were insured, our insurance company paid for the two vehicles he pushed us into and still haven’t collected from this deadbeat, who is still driving around with no license and no insurance. When asked why the police officer allowed this man to drive away from the scene, the Police Chief said he didn’t know, but that he was sending the officer for additional training. I wonder how many deaths he is responsible for because he didn’t want to do his job?

  • nick

    I agree that there is plenty of blame here. That being said, why does the cop not face any type of discipline. We trust cops to indentify intoxicated drivers and take them off the road. So the cop didn’t realize dude was drunk? Give me a break. Nobody told the cop dude was drunk? Give me a break. What the eff did they tell the cop then when he asked to see her license and what they were doing? They told him I’m driving him home because he’s drunk. I think that’s where I have a problem with this. I don’t believe the cop didn’t know Connor was drunk. Maybe there needs to be a sobriety test before we just blindly hand over the keys to the passenger. If Connor is charged and convicted, the cop should be too. I bet that woman still has to pay the ticket for driving on a suspended license, too. The whole thing is a damn shame because no matter what the boy is dead. Very sad.

    • roro

      umm…..the cop does not have any recourse because its chicago heights….that iwas an easy one

    • Deanne Michelle Sylvester

      Yes she did have to pay for that ticket,with more than just money. She lost her son that night because of inept cops…our tax dollars hard at work

      • Kathy

        Inept cops lets try irresponsible parents… or parent. Lets take responsibility for our actions people Now I am not a cop lover but this is clearly the parents fault…. If she got busted cared about her child she should have told the police her boyfriend was not capable of driving home. you people passing the buck all the time make me puke GROW THE F UP TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS

  • inalienablewrights

    Nick said:
    “Maybe there needs to be a sobriety test before we just blindly hand over the keys to the passenger. ”

    Perhaps the government should require a $3000 breathalyzer in early car before it can be licensed to drive. Oh I forgot the $4000 analyzer to make sure that you are not too tired and have enough sleep to drive. And the $6000 analyzer to make sure you are not high on pot…….

    Can anyone think outside of the “I am a slave’ paradigm?

    • Roberta Waker

      wrights. All you do in your posts is badmouth our government. Yes, the federal, state and city governments aren’t perfect; but for now it’s the only government we have until the voters make changes in November. Many brave men and women died for your right to be critical. You sound like a very unhappy person and I feel sorry for you, but please stop criticizing and do something to change things if you don’t like them. I would be willing to bet that your posts have already gotten the attention of our government so you might want to lighten up a liittle..

      • inalienablewrights

        Far from perfect? That describes my electric company Roberta. Government is in a criminal class no different from the mob they just happen to hang a flag on the wall.

        What you may not realize Roberta is that I am doing exactly what needs to be done for change to happen. For change to happen people in large numbers need to see what the problems are — without that nothing will ever change.

        For instance your referral to voting changing things. Votes are counted electronically in many places now which just increased the vote fraud. You are not even given a choice you have party A and party B both controlled by the same money powers.

        Get your hands on a buuk called Tragedy and Hope if you want a glimpse into the real workings of the control system called politics.

        It’s people that don’t understand the system and don’t want to learn what really ails the system that cause it to not only stay the same but to get worse every year. I would say only one or two out of 100 voters even understand the real issues.

        This forum is too flaky technically to make long posts as this answer deserves.

        You also highlighted another real problem you warned me to lighten up because the government may be watching me. You just admitted to every thing I believe about the criminal government you just keep that in your subconscious and do nothing about it. If you believe what you said you should be A good American and do exactly what I am doing.

      • inalienablewrights

        Roberta said:
        I would be willing to bet that your posts have already gotten the attention of our government so you might want to lighten up a liittle..”

        Corrupt governments depend upon people acting like you suggest Roberta. Change depends upon people pointing out the truth. Don’t you think the Founders took a wee bit of a chance by signing the declaration of Independence?

        The soldiers that you say died for liberty will have died for no reason if we remain silent and let this country go in the direction that it is headed.

        You speak of bravery on the battle field and then council cowardess with the Pen.

        Decide which side you are on Roberta. Speak up or remain silent you will have to live with your decision not I

  • lmb

    he will be out in 5 or 6.thats not right.

  • Bill S

    Cop should be in jail … period!

    • carl

      yes the cop should be in jail and the mom to

  • Gail Upchurch

    All Are guilty in this one,except for the Boy. Mom for going to get the drunk in the first place when she knew she shouldn’t drive. Police for not seeing what was clear, and the Moron for being a MORON!

    • carl

      u do not konw him and he not a moron u r

    • Lyndia

      Sounds right to me Gail

    • inalienablewrights

      There a people on this planet that I truly believe if the government revoked their permission to breathe God’s air, they would stop breathing until they died.

      You sound like one of those slaves and it makes me sad that people believe and live this way.

      “It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.” — Voltaire.

  • Peggy

    First off was anyone other than Kathie< Cecil and the Officer there? NO. So shut the f**k up and Cecil was talking on his cell phone to Jennifer Tartt. Why didn't she help him instead of talking to him on the phone that lead to my Grandson Michael's death. Honestly, You all need a life and get the facts straight before shooting the mouth off. We loss a wonderful little boy and a killer going to Prison for a crime that could have been avoided. Cecil Conner was at the party since Friday not the night before and he was over 3 times the limit so like I said get your facts straight before shooting off your mouth.

    • carl

      Where you there? No. So you need to get your facts straight before you run your mouth off. Your daughter is just as guilty as him for bring the baby out to pick him up. He told her to leave him alone.

    • carl

      how do know u he on the phone ? u do not know so shut the f**k up

    • inalienablewrights

      Hi Peggy
      Thanks for the clarification.
      It is sounding more and more like this cop should be hung by his neck even if everything he did was legal as laws do not cover every shade of evil.

      It looks like he arrested the mother and left a small child with someone in a car that was drunk on his arse. Is this government protecting us?

      Unfortunately this is what they usually do and every year they want us to bend over more so they can give more of it to us.

      I am sorry for your loss Peggy.

  • Toonces

    Three idiots, one dead boy.

  • Toonces

    Maybe next time broad will pick better boyfriend material; this guy has ‘loser’ tatted on his neck DUH.

    • carl

      no he not a loser the mom a loser she the 1 and got the boyfriend and u r a loser

  • NWA

    S.O.S……….. I am the SON OF SATAN

  • lilmamafox

    There are 3 at fault here not just one….I only see 2 paying the price…thats Cecil that has been in jail now sence it happened and then theres the mother that has to live without her son BUT they all three should be in jail not just one cause the mother should have never went out in the middle of the night with her son when she new she shouldnt be driving in the first place,the cop for making Cecil drive when drunk and any good cop knows when someone is drunk..this so called cop should no longer be able to serve and protect cause he faild to do so here and Michael lost his life way to soon…Cecil is the only one getting the blame and there is three to blame…I believe the mother and the cop should be sitting next to Cecil in a sell….R.I.P Lil Michael….theres still two more people for justice to be served on ;) Angel kisses lil man :)

    • carl

      yes the cop and mom should be sitting in jail to

  • not from south of I80-

    Mom and boyfriend are guilty. Very very simple . Mom should of said officer he is drunk. End of story. But no, let’s go after the money. That’s what this is about. What a shame. Even worse the mom bears no responsability for this incident whatsoever. She’s in denial.

  • Mom Says Judge Was Wrong To Blame For DUI Wreck That Killed Child « CBS Chicago

    […] Conner was sentenced to 9 ½ years in prison for the boy’s death. Horwitz and LaFond say the officer who made the stop should bear some of the burden. […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live