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Former Cop Gets 3 Years In Deadly DUI Crash

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Richard Bolling, 42, a Chicago police officer, was convicted of reckless homicide and drunk driving in a 2009 crash that killed a 13-year-old boy riding a bicycle. (Credit: Cook County Sheriff's Office)

Richard Bolling, 42, a Chicago police officer, was convicted of reckless homicide and drunk driving in a 2009 crash that killed a 13-year-old boy riding a bicycle. (Credit: Cook County Sheriff’s Office)

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Updated 03/06/12 – 6:10 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A former Chicago Police officer has been sentenced to three years in prison for driving drunk, hitting and killing a 13-year-old boy, and speeding off.

WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports Richard Bolling could have gotten as many as 17 years in prison, or could have been sentenced only to probation, on his conviction in January of aggravated driving under the influence and reckless homicide.

In addition to three years in an Illinois prison, Bolling will also serve two years’ probation afterward. He has been in custody ever since the deadly crash almost three years ago.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

Bolling, 42, was convicted of driving drunk as he hit and killed Trenton Booker, 13. Booker was riding his bicycle near 81st Street and Ashland Avenue on May 22, 2009, when he was fatally struck by the off-duty officer’s vehicle.

As CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, Trenton’s father, Terrence Booker, said he was “stunned” by the sentence handed down to Bolling.

“He never rendered aid, assisted Trenton, anything,” he said.

Trenton’s mother Barbara Norman said there’s no greater pain than losing a child, and Bolling’s sentence doesn’t seem fair.

“I don’t think there’s any number that’s going to replace the fact that my son is gone,” she said. “I just didn’t expect such a short period of time.”

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.

Bolling had an open beer in the car, and the 17-year Chicago Police veteran never took any sobriety tests until at least two hours after his arrest.

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 a jury rejected that claim, convicting Bolling after deliberating about nine hours over two days.

After the sentencing, Bolling’s Attorney, Tom Needham, said, “He made a mistake and he will pay for the rest of his life for that mistake.”

Bolling, who is a married father of two, had dozens of family and friends in court to support him on Tuesday. They left without speaking publicly about his sentence.

“They’re upset, but at the other hand, they know it’s not the end of the world,” Needham said. “He could have gotten 10, 12 years in prison.”

Trenton’s family said they understand Bolling’s family is suffering too, but it’s nothing compared to their loss.

“At least they get to see their son. I don’t,” Terrence Booker said.

“It has been three years, and each day it’s just like yesterday for me. I don’t know if that will ever leave,” Norman said.

Trenton’s parents also said Bolling’s sentence only adds to their pain.

“He wiggled his way out of this one, you know what I’m saying?” Terrence Booker said. “So, we need to change the law somehow, some way. It’s not fair … to our family.”

Before he was sentenced, Bolling read a letter and apologized to Trenton’s family.

As part of his sentence Bolling will also have to perform 200 hours of community service; 40 hours of that at a morgue, the remainder at high schools and the police academy, talking to students and officers about his experience and the dangers of drinking and driving.

Trenton’s mother said she takes some comfort in knowing others might learn from what happened to her son and to Bolling.

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