Two Cicero residents were killed about 2:50 a.m. on the North Side of Chicago in a crash where an off-duty Chicago police officer was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Miguel Flores didn’t make it to Thanksgiving dinner with his family, one of his favorite celebrations.
While out with friends the night before, the 22-year-old Cicero resident was killed about 2:50 a.m. on the North Side of Chicago in a crash where an off-duty Chicago police officer was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Family members of Flores were making funeral arrangements Friday afternoon and said they’re still waiting to hear answers from the Chicago Police Department.
“We didn’t get to see him come home for Thanksgiving, but the cop got to walk away and go home,” said Blanca Flores, 20, his sister. “It’s not fair.”
Flores’ best friend, Erick Lagunas, 21, of Cicero, also died in the crash. Their friend Reynaldo Barajas, 21, of Cicero, was reported as injured.
Attempts to reach the families of Lagunas and Barajas were unsuccessful.
The police officer, John Ardelean, 33, has been reassigned to desk duty pending an investigation, Chicago police spokesman Pat Camden said.
Ardelean, a five-year veteran of the Chicago department, had been working in the 19th District, the same district where he was accused of driving drunk when his Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle hit the Pontiac Grand Am sedan in which the three Cicero men were riding on the 2900 block of North Damen Avenue. Ardelean was charged with DUI and failure to reduce speed, Camden said.
Blanca Flores and family friend Armando Casas, 21, said they didn’t know an off-duty police officer was charged in the accident until they saw TV reports.
“We were angry,” Casas said. “We put our trust in police officers, and if this is what he does in the city where he works ... it has to be addressed. ... He’s a person who knows how the justice system works.”
Miguel Flores lived in Cicero all his life. He graduated from Morton East High School in 2004.
“He liked basketball,” Blanca Flores said. “And he liked playing with his nephews. He’d drive the 7-year-old nephew to basketball practices, and he never missed any of his (Clyde Park District) games at the Cicero Stadium.”
Flores practiced carpentry as his profession and belonged to Carpenters Local 54.
Casas said Flores talked about starting a carpentry business.
“He would fix anything ... holes in the wall, pipes,” Casas said.
Blanca Flores said her brother worked on refurbishing the basement and finishing the kitchen ceiling of their house where he lived with his mother, two sisters, his sister’s boyfriend and nephews.
A memorial beneath a framed floral painting Friday in their dining room had three lit candles in front of Flores’ eighth-grade photo, another where he was sitting on the couch after a day of work, a few of him and his family, and one of him and his girlfriend.