UPDATE: Woman Involved In Former Rockford Cop Car Crash Passes Away


UPDATE (9/17/14): Danielson passed away on Sept. 12th surrounded by her family and friends.  She is survived by her husband and their two sons.

An informal gathering to honor her will be held at the Timber Pointe Golf Club in Poplar Grove on Sept. 23rd from 4pm-7pm.  Funeral arrangements haven't been set yet.  Danielson was 62 years-old.

ROCKFORD - Daniel Cruz, the former Rockford Police officer who pled guilty to aggravated drinking and driving, has been sentenced to 8 years in prison. Police say in May 2012, Cruz was passing an SUV in a no-passing zone southbound on Beloit Road when he struck a pick-up truck and collided with the SUV near Townhall Road. All four passengers of the SUV were taken to the hospital, one of the passengers 61 year old Suzie Danielson was paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a spinal cord injury. Following the crash, Cruz began walking away from the scene and was stopped by a firefighter approximately ¾ of a mile from the accident scene. Cruz refused all chemical testing. A search warrant was then obtained for an involuntary blood draw. Lab results later revealed Cruz’s blood alcohol content to be .14 grams per deciliter. Cruz was a 13 year veteran of the Rockford Police Department who was off duty at the time of the crash. He is no longer with the Department. His ex wife pled with the judge to give Cruz probation, so that he would be able to see his children.

On the stand, Sarah Cerenhous remembers May 2, 2012. She was on the way home with three friends, when they were run off of Beloit Road. “We went to the right Suzie flew over me to the left and I grabbed her so she did not fly out of the car.”

The three car crash would leave one of her friends paralyzed. The man that caused the crash was Rockford police officer Daniel Cruz. The victims testified that Cruz checked on them. “Oh cool, you guys are all okay…at which point, Suzie’s head was on my lap and her body was laying across the back seat, and I started screaming; we are not okay, we are not okay!" said Cerenhous

Dash Cam video then shows Cruz leaving the scene. You can see him on the Right side of the video walking away, phone in hand. He also lied to a firefighter about being the driver. “Stop right there, you lied to me, you are the driver of the car that we have been looking for.” Said Frank Perez

Through tears, Cruz’s ex-wife asked the judge for probation so could be around for his kids. “The kids are his world, and he is there world. Their dad is their superman.” Said Angela Cruz.

Cruz proceeded to ask the judge to show him mercy, saying he has changed since crash. “Your honor, please show me mercy.”

The judge sentenced to eight years in prison, a sentence prosecutors agree with.
“He left the scene of that accident, and he could have provided those people help. He made that choice, and we believe that this punishment meets the crime.” Said Michelle Courier, Boone County States Attorney

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