CHICAGO (WGN/AP) – A northern Illinois man was charged Monday in the death of a suburban Chicago police officer who was killed when struck by a vehicle while providing traffic control during a crash investigation.
Reckless homicide and felony driving under the influence charges were filed against Otis M. Pruitt, 27, of Oak Lawn. He was ordered held in lieu of $1 million bond.
Hometown police Lt. James Kouski of New Lenox was injured Saturday by a vehicle allegedly driven by Pruitt struck a squad car, which in turn struck the officer.
Pruitt tried to run from the scene but was stopped by officers, officials said. Pruitt was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries from the collision.
An examination allegedly found he had a blood alcohol content greater than 0.08% three hours after the incident, a Cook County Sheriff Department official said. It wasn’t immediately known if Pruitt has legal representation.
James Kouski, 58, a 34-year veteran of the Hometown Police Department, succumbed to his injuries shortly after the crash.
Kouski was redirecting traffic where an accident downed a light pole. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead.
“It was terrible to wake up this morning and hear the news about the fallen officer. We have such a small, tight-knit community here,” Hometown resident Robert Beatz-Ventura said.
A memorial procession was held Saturday afternoon for the fallen officer where he was saluted by residents and other local police departments.
“He always wanted to do things right,” Hometown police chief Lou Dominguez said.