Former Tinley Park cop pleads guilty to DUI, leaving accident
Handcuffs (Tribune photo illustration)
John Leonard resigned from the south suburban police force after he was arrested by Frankfort Police in May, officials said.
Today, Leonard, 38, entered a blind plea to felony charges of failure to report an accident involving personal injury and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.
He faces up to 7 years in prison, but is also eligible for probation, officials said.
Assistant Will County State's Attorney Fred Harvey told Judge Edward Burmila that Leonard “did not stop, did not check on the victims and did not call police.”
Leonard's blood-alcohol level was 0.19 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, Harvey said.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 20.
Leonard was put on administrative leave after he was charged and then submitted his resignation on May 27, which took effect June 1, officials said.
Leonard crashed a police department vehicle, a Ford Explorer, into the rear end of a Buick LeSabre at 1 a.m. May 1 at Lincolnway Lane and La Grange Road in Frankfort.
The two Chicago men in the LeSabre said they attempted to follow the Explorer, but their car was damaged by the accident, according to police reports. The men were not seriously injured, police said.
Leonard was stopped at the intersection of U.S. Route 30 and Nelson Road in New Lenox about seven miles from the crash shortly after the accident, reports said.
His eyes were bloodshot and glassy and there was a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, according to police. With slurred speech, he said “Tinley cop,” and told officers the damage to his vehicle had been there for two weeks, police said.
While speaking with Leonard, police saw a handgun on the floor between his feet, the reports said. When asked about the gun, Leonard said, “So what, I’m a Tinley cop,” according to reports.
Leonard refused to take a breath test at the police station and was taken to Silver Cross Hospital to give blood and urine samples, police said.
Leonard was also cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision and illegal transport of open alcohol, police said.
Tinley Park officials previously said the resignation stopped the internal investigation of Leonard’s employment.