Former officer sentenced to 12 years for DUI
January 13, 2006 (WLS) -- A former Chicago police officer has been sentenced to time behind bars for a crash last year that killed two south suburban teenagers.
Jason Casper was off-duty and driving drunk when he ran a red light and struck their car in Tinley Park last February.
Relatives of both victims, as well as the parents of Jason Casper, say they hope this tragedy serves as a lesson against drinking and driving.
Probation was not an option, according to the judge. Probation would not reflect the serious nature of the crime. For reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence, a former Chicago police officer will serve time.
"Whoever is going to drink and get behind the wheel better think twice. He is not just going to injury somebody or kill somebody, maybe he will serve time, too. I feel so sorry for Jason Casper's mother," said Mohammed Shaban, Ahmad Shaban's brother.
"I'm hoping that it teaches other cops and other people a lesson. That's all. I mean, whatever the sentencing was, it was, you know, we are not going to bring him back," said Sahar Shaban, Ahmad Shaban's cousin.
After a guilty plea in October, former Chicago police officer Jason Casper stood before Cook County Judge David Sterba Friday morning for sentencing.
Judge Sterba said: "You chose to consume alcohol; you chose to drive to speeds in excess of 90 mph." "Your criminal conduct contributed to every parent's worst nightmare."
The sentence: 12 years in prison.
On February 12, then officer Casper drank and drove through the intersection at 159th and Harlem in Tinley Park. Sixteen-year-old Ahmad Shaban and 17-year-old Mohammed Shuaibi were killed. Ramzi Hussein was driving when they were hit and is still recovering from his injuries.
Casper gave a tearful apology the last time he was in court. His parents say he takes full responsibility for his actions and say they also grieve for the young men who were killed.
"I just wanted to say what we have not been able to say all these months, but all our family, our hearts go out to all the families. I think about it all the time and so does Jason. There is never a moment I don't think about it," said Tami O'Brien, Casper's mother.
"Though it's slightly disappointing to us, I hope it brings some sort of closure to the victims' families who've been suffering. I can't imagine how bad they feel," said Steve Casper, Casper's father.
Casper was taken into custody immediately following the sentencing. While his sentence is 12 years he will be eligible for parole in 2016.
Both sides acknowledge the pain caused by this tragedy for everyone involved. Compounding the pain, some of the victim's relatives have received hate mail. The state's attorney is now looking into that matter.
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