Judge OKs suit alleging ‘code of silence’ led to fatal crash

(Photo: April 2009 fatal crash)

CHICAGO — A federal judge has given the go-ahead for a lawsuit alleging a Chicago Police Department “code of silence” allowed a detective to escape punishment for drunken driving.

Off-duty detective Joseph Frugoli’s blood-alcohol content was more than four times the legal limit when his SUV plowed into a disabled vehicle in April 2009, killing two men.

Frugoli had escaped discipline despite being suspected of drunken driving twice before.

The lawsuit filed by the families of Andrew Cazares and Fausto Manzera allege a “code of silence” led Frugoli to believe he could “drink and drive with impunity.” The lawsuit says fellow officers protected him in the past.

The Chicago Tribune reports U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall on Friday found ample evidence Frugoli was treated differently in his traffic-related incidents than average citizens.

A city Law Department spokesman had no comment Monday, citing ongoing litigation.