Saturday, April 11, 2009

To Serve and Protect

He's driving alone, very late at night, and he's totally shit faced.


Hours and hours of drinking were followed by a critical decision. The question he faced,...."Am I too drunk to drive?"

He decided he could make the run. What the fuck, it isn't that far. And so he loaded his weapon.

Now he's driving alone, and the white lines are wiggling back and forth, blurred by the booze. His efforts to stay focused and in the center of his lane bring his vision from a thousand yard stare to a 50 foot fixation. He keeps it pegged at 55. He makes promises to God. Never again, if you get me home just one more time.

He glances to his right, and sees the ballpark. Major leaguers play over there. The Big Time. His concentration wavers for just a moment as he thinks of the young men who have graced that field over the years. The grand slams.The no-hitters. Oh the life of the major league baseball player, he thinks.

And then it happens.

There is no time to react. No time to swerve. A car in his path. A red Dodge. He's on top of them before he knows it, and the impact is horrific. The explosion of tangled metal and body parts shakes the pavement. The inertia of a moment ago gives way to deadly rest, and a sick hissing noise fills the air. The steam jets from under the hood of his mangled Lexus SUV, but he can't see it because the airbag has deployed, saving him from a ride through space, saving his life.

He staggers from his vehicle, and sees the full extent of the carnage. He has obliterated the other vehicle to the point of being unrecognizable.

And then the fire starts. Both cars burst into flames.

He briefly considers a heroic act, and then decides against being the hero. A passerby, Marcus Copeland, tries in vain to pull the victims from their crematorium, but the heat is too great. The drunken survivor panics, and decides to take a walk. It seems like a run, but it's a zigzagging stumble.

He's picked up within blocks of the crime. He's obviously drunk, but the cops do the job they were hired to do. Field sobriety tests indicate a fucked up person, and the breathalyzer confirms the fact with a blinking .24.



Three times the legal limit.

But not dead.

Dead, are 23 year old Andrew Cazares of Summit, and 21 year old Fausto Manzera of Chicago. They were in sight of Comiskey Park, southbound on the Dan Ryan at 18th Street, at 4 o'clock this morning, when their car broke down.

Alive, and charged with two counts of aggravated DUI, one count of leaving the scene, and two counts of reckless homicide, is 41 year old Joseph Frugoli of Bridgeport.

And Joseph Frugoli, the drunk who rear ended the disabled vehicle, the coward who walked away from his victims, leaving them trapped and condemned to die, the killer who blew a .24, was an off duty Chicago police detective when he decided he wasn't too drunk to drive.


LentenStuffe said...

This was so well written, but the point is the righteous rage at the waste wrought by this asshole's actions ... and that comes across very powerfully.

Schmutzie said...


I've talked before about how many Chicago cops I know. I am indeed angry my friend, but I imagine not nearly as angry as they are. Thousands and thousands of cops in this city. Like any other subset of society, they have their of assholes, a small percentage from my experience. The sad part for them is that this sort of thing reflects on all of them, although it shouldn't.

But that's what happens when those hired to serve and protect us, don't.

I found their proximity to Comiskey Park worth mentioning, in light of the death of 21 year old California Angel's pitcher Nick Adenhart, also killed by a drunk driver.

Wondering how long that one will stay on the national news, and if this one will even make it there.

LentenStuffe said...

One can understand their shame but the many oughtn't to be tarred by the anomalous one.

Deacon's Wives said...

Wow. Did this just happen? So close to the Adenhart accident?

Gripping story. Heartbreaking.

Schmutzie said...

Early Friday morning.

Yes ma'am, it's sad stuff.

At one point in my life, I thought nothing of climbing behind the wheel of my car after drinking. Now, I shudder to even think about it, and wonder how in the hell I survived.

artandsoul said...

I remember a time when I would/could look back and laugh and say "Oh I remember driving and having to hold my hand over one eye so there would only be one road."

Ha. Ha.

I'm so lucky, and so are all the people who were out those nights.

I cannot imagine doing such a thing today.

Hugs to you, Schmutzie. Thanks for telling this very, very sad tale.

Keifus said...

Maybe it's just me, but police work seems to attract a higher asshole quotient than other professions. But I agree that cops support a different flavor of misanthropy than this guy showed--I can't imagine that there are a lot of hit and run cowards in the force.

Pretty damn evocative. The bargaining with god, the after-the-crime, but before-the-accident attempt at self-control...that's what hit me. What a bunch of noble spirits we are in our own imagining.

Schmutzie said...


I know tons of cops, and most of them are sweethearts, but....those that are assholes, are REAL assholes. Maybe the job does it to them, or maybe they're attracted to the job because they're assholes to begin with, hard to say.

Local news just did a feature on nine high profile cop crimes, including a several DUIs. Frugloi isn't alone, but the fatalities have taken this thing up a level.

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