Joseph Frugoli, 41, a former Chicago police officer was ordered to spend eight years in prison after being convicted of aggravated DUI that resulted in a fiery crash on April 10, 2009 that killed two men. The accident occurred on the Dan Ryan Expressway, when his Lexus SUV reportedly hit a disabled vehicle on the side of the expressway. The disabled vehicle he allegedly struck erupted in flames and killed its two passengers.
Fausto Manzera, 21, and Andrew Cazaraes, 23, who were both well-known graffiti artists, died in the fiery collision. After the crash, Frugoli was reportedly caught trying to leave the scene. According to the police investigation, his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was approximately three times the legal limit.
After pleading guilty to aggravated DUI in July, Frugoli faced sentencing by Judge Charles Burns, ranging from probation to 31 years. The judge ordered that he be sentenced to seven years for the aggravated DUI and one year for leaving the crash and failing to render aid. Under the circumstances, Judge Burns agreed that there would likely not be anyone pleased with the decision but he tried to balance the punishment with Frugoli’s service as a police officer for 18 years.
The former Chicago detective never testified in the case and appeared calm throughout. According to case records, he did say that he had begun drinking at the age of 16 and admit to being an alcoholic. He will also reportedly undergo substance abuse treatment.
Records indicate that this was not Frugoli’s first accident on the Dan Ryan Expressway. He had reportedly been ordered to pay another individual $7,100 for damages for a 2005 rear-end accident on the same expressway. He was also allegedly involved in an accident in a police car that injured two fellow officers.
Whenever someone sustains catastrophic or fatal injuries as a result of being involved in an accident with a drunk driver, there are two different cases that follow. One case is the criminal matter which results in possible imprisonment, as in the Frugoli accident. The other case is a civil case against the negligent operator of the vehicle causing the injuries or fatality.
Part of the civil case is a potential claim against any bar, tavern or other drinking establishment that served alcoholic beverages to a visibly intoxicated person who later caused the injuries or fatality. This area of the law is called Dram Shop Law. The Illinois Dram Shop Law, the elements for recovery by someone injured are:
• Alcohol was served to the patron by the defendant
• The plaintiff suffered damages
• The sale of the alcohol was the proximate cause of the intoxication
• The intoxication was at least one cause of the plaintiff’s injuries or damages
Proximate cause means that it must have been foreseeable that the sale of alcohol to the patron by the establishment could result in injuries to others.
If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries or lost loved ones because of a drunk driver, you need to seek the advice of an experienced Chicago attorney with a proven record.