It’s been nearly three years since Jeff Bondy said goodbye to his wife Kelley on a summer Sunday left for his job as an airfield operations supervisor at O’Hare International Airport and was killed by an alleged drunk driver who turned into the path of his motorcycle.
“That weekend we had been celebrating the 10th birthday of our twins,” Bondy’s wife, Kelley, recalled Wednesday. “Those are the kids’ last memories of their dad -- a happy occasion. He was just trying to go to work.”
Prosecutors said Drew Forquer, 51, was legally drunk on Aug. 10, 2008, when he tried to take a wide left-hand turn from Belmont Avenue onto Opal Avenue and his Honda Accord crashed into Bondy’s Harley-Davidson.
A Breathalyzer test administered to Forquer nearly four hours after the collision registered 0.045 percent, below the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Initially, he was charged with only misdemeanor DUI and ticketed for several traffic violations, but two months later, the charges were upgraded to a felony DUI involving a death after an expert estimated Forquer’s blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash to be from 0.084 to 0.123 percent, above the legal limit.
“This was not a tragic accident,” Assistant State’s Attorney Megan Goldish told Judge Clayton Crane in her opening statement at the bench trial. “This was a guy who was drunk …This was a guy who was driving recklessly. This was a tragic crime.”
Forquer’s attorney, Barry Pechter, said his client was at fault for nothing more than a “wide left turn.” He noted that Forquer passed a battery of field-sobriety tests at the scene and called the prosecution’s claims of illegal intoxication an “approximation based on suppositions.”
Bondy testified Wednesday that moments after her husband left their home to begin his night shift at O’Hare, she heard a motorcycle braking and a loud crash on nearby Belmont Avenue. Her son, who was coming in a back gate, heard it, too, she said.
“He yelled, ‘Mom!’” Bondy testified through tears. “I told him, ‘It wasn’t Dad.’”
Bondy testified she called her husband’s cell phone, but it went straight to voicemail. When police investigators came to the house a short time later, she just looked at them and said, “Is he dead?”
Forquer, of the 3400 block of North Ozanam Avenue, has four DUI convictions from 1984 to 1991, according to state records. His driver’s license was suspended for five years before it was reinstated in 1998, the records show.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation revoked Forquer’s dentist license in 1994 after it was discovered he had ordered large amounts of painkillers and barbiturates that he “personally ingested or consumed,” records show.
In recent years, Forquer had been working as a dental assistant, but he took a leave of absence after being charged in 2008.
Wife: Fatal DUI victim 'just trying to go to work'
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.