A grieving family is asking that more serious charges be filed against two drivers involved in a fatal driving under the influence crash. One of them was an off-duty Chicago police officer.
According to prosecutors, they now believe the crash was not properly investigated by police.
Because the accident was fatal, the victim’s family members have demanded that felony DUI, rather than misdemeanor DUI, charges be filed.
The June 2007 crash took the life of 35-year-old Denise Gerzen. She was riding on the back of a Harley Davidson driven by the off-duty officer, Eugene Bikulcuius. They were coming from a local bar.
The police report says that the motorcycle struck a Dodge Charger driven by 49-year-old Carol Miller as she was making an illegal left-hand turn. Police diagrams show that the impact was so severe that it caused the car to turn 180 degrees.
Miller was arrested on charges of misdemeanor DUI. According to police reports, Bikulcius received transport to the hospital and was not charged or given a breathalyzer.
According to Gerzen’s brother, Scott Gerzen, the family kept questioning the Illinois attorney’s office, but they kept insisting that he was not at fault.
After five months of the Gerzen family writing to elected officials and prosecutors, the Cook County state’s attorney eventually uncovered hospital blood tests revealing Bikulcius to have been intoxicated on the night of the crash. He was then charged with misdemeanor DUI.
However, according to the secretary of state’s DUI fact book, drunk drivers who cause a death are typically charged with Class 2 felonies that carry a punishment of up to 14 years in prison.
The state’s attorney said that Bikulcius wasn’t charged with reckless homicide because it would not be supported by the evidence because it came from an inadequate investigation that would not show that his actions were the cause.
Miller’s attorney also said that he believes that the CPD failed to properly investigate and that Miller did not see the motorcycle coming.
According to the Gerzens’ attorney, the police never performed an accident reconstruction to determine the motorcycle’s speed. Bikulcius said in police reports that he was going 25-30 mph in the 35 mph zone.Bikulcius has been relieved of police powers and is on paid leave, pending the investigation’s outcome and charges.