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Ex-Tinley Park cop pleads guilty in DUI crash

Updated: March 30, 2012 12:12AM

A former Tinley Park cop admitted to a judge Thursday he left the scene of a drunken-driving accident in May and now faces as many as seven years in prison.

John M. Leonard, 38, resigned after the May 1 accident in the 20600 block of South LaGrange Road in Frankfort. He was off-duty but driving a village-owned 2010 Ford Explorer at the time.

Assistant State’s Attorney Fred Harvey said Leonard was traveling south on LaGrange about 1:15 a.m., rear-ended a Buick near Lincoln-Way Lane and didn’t stop. A 49-year-old passenger in the Buick was treated at St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields and released. The Buick’s driver wasn’t hurt.

New Lenox police stopped Leonard outside a McDonald’s about 15 minutes after the accident. His vehicle’s hood was bent on the driver’s side, records show, and he claimed the damage was two weeks old, police said.

His eyes were bloodshot and glassy, officers said, and police found a glass of Guinness beer tipped over in the rear passenger seat. His handgun was resting between his legs when they stopped him, according to reports, and multiple boxes of ammunition and other police equipment were found in the vehicle.

“So what, I’m a Tinley cop,” Leonard said, according to police.

He also taunted the officer who arrested him, calling the officer a “ticket-writing cop” and claiming to be “the real police,” police said. At Silver Cross Hospital, where he was taken for blood and urine tests after being turned over to the Frankfort police, reports said Leonard told officers they should be taking care of him.

Harvey said Leonard’s blood-alcohol content after the accident was 0.19, more than twice the legal limit.

Leonard pleaded guilty Thursday before Will County Judge Edward Burmila to failure to report an accident involving personal injury, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, DUI and various traffic offenses. Though he could be sentenced to as many as seven years in prison, he’s also eligible for probation.

Burmila set an April 20 sentencing hearing.

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