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CHICAGO (CBS) – The off-duty Chicago police detective who caused the deaths of two men in a fiery Dan Ryan Expressway collision in 2009 and then tried to flee the scene was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison.
Joseph Frugoli in September pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI. In a bench trial, he was later convicted of charges he left the scene of the accident after his vehicle slammed into the back of a disabled car near the 18th Street ramp. Frugoli was quickly detained by responding officers.
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Killed in the crash were Andrew Cazares, 23, of Summit, and Fausto Manzera, 21, a DePaul University student. Friday’s sentencing hearing included emotional victim-impact statements from family members.
“I would rather it was me sitting in that car engulfed in flames. No words can describe the pain that I feel. That pain will be with me forever,” Maria Velez, Manzera’s mother, said in court.
Later, she expressed dissatisfaction with Frugoli’s sentence, saying it was too lenient.
“We just witnessed the police department getting favoritism,” she told reporters. “Eight years — for the life of two boys.”
Frugoli, 41 at the time of the crash, was an 18-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department. In court Friday, he tearfully apologized to the families as he pleaded for mercy from the judge at 26th and California.
He received seven years for causing the fatal crash and one year on the fleeing conviction, CBS 2′s Mike Puccinelli reports.
The judge noted Frugoli’s blood-alcohol level was .277, more than three times the legal driving limit, long after the accident. The judge also noted the former detective’s history of previous wrecks.