Bicycle Diaries: Off-duty police officer kills 13 year old

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Off-duty police officer kills 13 year old

Today, the Chicago Tribune is reporting:
Terrence Booker had planned to pick up his 13-year-old son, Trenton, from school Friday afternoon for a holiday weekend of family barbecues just weeks shy of the boy's 8th-grade graduation.

But he instead received a heartbreaking phone call in the middle of the night that his son had been killed in a hit-and-run collision while riding his bike with friends about 1:30 a.m. Friday after sneaking out of the house.

Later Friday, Chicago police acknowledged that an off-duty officer had struck Trenton on South Ashland Avenue with his car and then drove off.

"That car tore him to pieces," Booker, 40, said outside the home of Trenton's mother, Barbara Norman. "He was dead when he hit the ground."

Police said an internal investigation would take place into the conduct of the off-duty officer, age 39 with 17 years on the force. He was stripped of police powers. A police spokeswoman confirmed that it was a hit-and-run collision.

No criminal charges had been filed against the officer by Friday evening, but the investigation continues.

It was the second fatal crash involving an off-duty Chicago police officer in recent weeks. Officer Joseph Frugoli, 41, was charged last month with reckless homicide and DUI after a fiery April 10 crash on the Dan Ryan Expressway that killed Andrew Cazares and Fausto Manzera, both in their 20s.

Witnesses said Trenton and at least one other boy were riding their bikes in the left southbound lane of Ashland Avenue near 81st Street when a black Dodge Charger approached from behind, swerving and speeding.

Though witnesses said the light at the intersection had turned red, the car did not slow as it approached the boys, striking Booker's bike and flipping him in the air, said Brian Jackson, a witness.

The car continued southbound on Ashland and later was found by police in the 1900 block of West 82nd Street, four blocks from the collision, said Sgt. Antoinette Ursitti, a police spokeswoman.

A steady stream of relatives and friends visited Trenton's home. He was in 8th grade at nearby Cuffe Math, Science and Technology Academy. Trenton's father said his son was loyal and friendly -- the only boy among five sisters -- still figuring out who he wanted to be.

"He wanted to be everything in the world," Booker said. "Nothing but dreams."

Booker said he was furious that it was a police officer behind the wheel of the car that hit his son.

"It's outrageous. It's a shame that a police officer [who] is supposed to uphold the law, that he would do something like that," Booker said later Friday. "You hold your badge and honor as an authority and you leave someone down in the road you know you just hit? It's terrible."

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Blogger WheelDancer said...

It's a shame when someone with a badge of trust spits in the face of the society that gave that trust.

Rest in peace little man.

24/5/09 18:13  

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