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Off-duty cop after allegedly hitting teen while drunk: ‘Oh man, look at my car’

Richard W. Bolling (left) court January 2012.  |  Sun-Times Media

Richard W. Bolling (left) in court in January 2012. | Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 13, 2012 9:27AM



The off-duty Chicago Police officer sat in the back of the squad car nervously talking to himself in an anxious rush.

First, Richard Bolling scolded himself.

“Oh, Lord, Richard, ‘What is wrong with you man?’” Bolling is heard saying on the audio-recording taped after Cook County prosecutors said he ran over a 13-year-old boy in a drunken haze.

Bolling, apparently unaware he was being recorded or that Trenton Booker had died, then focused his attention on the damage his Dodge Charger sustained in the early morning South Side wreck.

“Look at my car. Oh man, look at my car,” Bolling exasperatedly says on the tape prosecutors introduced into evidence Wednesday as a rookie officer testified he erroneously determined Bolling was not drunk at the time of his May 2009 arrest.

Gresham District Officer Milton Kinnison said that when he and his partner stopped Bolling driving the wrong way on a one-way street a few blocks from the accident, Bolling did not appear drunk even though he gave off a “moderate odor of alcohol.”

Kinnison said from where he was standing, Bolling appeared to pass four field sobriety tests. However, after watching video recordings with prosecutors this week, Kinnison changed his mind. Bolling, on tape, looks as if he failed the “walk and turn” test because he made an improper turn, used his hands for balance and took ten steps instead of the nine he was ordered, Kinnison said.

“My opinion is that he was under the influence of alcohol,” Kinnison said, adding that he and his partner drove Bolling to a nearby gas station to use the washroom following his arrest — a courtesy normally not offered to other suspects.

When cross-examined by defense attorney Thomas Needham, Kinnison acknowledged he had written in three police reports that Bolling showed no signs of impairment. Kinnison said he never made any follow up reports to reflect his new assessments.

Kinnison said when he asked Bolling to take a Breathalyzer test at the police station he refused.

Bolling also turned down a request from an internal affairs officer, according to court testimony.

But he succumbed when Sgt. Richard Downs gave him a direct order to take the test, the now retired Downs said Wednesday.

When Bolling was finally tested 4 1/2 hours after the fatal accident at 81st and Ashland, Bolling’s blood alcohol level registered at .079 — just a bit shy of the .08 legal intoxication level, prosecutors said.

Trenton and a friend were riding their bicycles northbound in the southbound lanes of Ashland when Bolling slammed into Trenton, sending the teenager and his bike several feet into the air.

“What the hell is wrong with these kids?” Bolling is caught saying on the squad-car recordings.

When the officers proceed to tell him that Trenton lost his life, Bolling can be heard screaming, “Oh no! Please don’t tell me that! No, no, no, no, no, no, no!”

Bolling, 42, dabbed his eyes with a tissue upon hearing his distressed voice in court Wednesday.

Minutes earlier, Trenton’s relatives ran out of Judge Matthew Coghlan’s courtroom when they got an earful of Bolling’s taped ramblings about the fast food chicken and fries he had left in his car.

Trenton was gone.

And the man allegedly responsible for his death was thinking about food.

“Please don’t eat my White Castles,” Bolling says on tape as officers investigated the crime.

“I’m hungry.”



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