OFF-DUTY COP CHARGED WITH DUI IN CRASH THAT BADLY INJURED PEDESTRIAN

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The Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago. (Terrence Antonio James, Chicago Tribune 2012)

Jeremy Gorner | Contact Reporter Chicago Tribune

August 6, 2016, 10:56 PM

A woman remains in critical condition at a suburban hospital more than two weeks after an off-duty Chicago police officer struck her with his car while driving drunk, Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.

A Breathalyzer test taken more than four hours after the crash registered Officer Erin Mowry’s blood-alcohol content at .092, above the legal limit of .08, prosecutors said.

At a bond hearing Thursday for Mowry, Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said the impact of the crash sent the 21-year-old woman airborne before she hit her head on the pavement during the early morning hours of July 18.

The victim suffered contusions, bleeding on the brain and was placed into a medically induced coma to relieve newsure on her brain, according to the prosecutor.

She remains at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood in “very critical condition,” Scaduto said.

Wearing glasses and clad in a dark, zipped-up hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, Mowry, 40, stood with his hands in front of him as Judge Donald Panarese allowed the officer to be released on his own recognizance and ordered him on electronic monitoring. He is charged with aggravated DUI with great bodily harm, a felony.

The crash happened about 1:30 a.m. in the Belmont Heights neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

The woman had just exited a CTA bus at Belmont and Olcott avenues, Scaduto said. After the bus rode off, she stepped into a crosswalk as Mowry changed lanes in his 1997 Mercedes and struck her with the driver’s side of the car, she said.

Mowry, who remained at the scene “did admit he had been drinking earlier in the evening and stated he didn’t see her,” Scaduto said.

Mowry was taken to the Jefferson Park District police station and administered the Breathalyzer test at 5:42 a.m., said Scaduto.

Mowry, an officer for almost three years, was relieved of his police powers about 6 a.m. by an investigator with the Police Department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs, said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

He initially was ticketed for DUI and failure to exercise due care, according to traffic court records. But on Wednesday, the felony charges were filed against Mowry, and he turned himself in to Chicago police.

If the victim dies, Scaduto said, the charges against Mowry would be upgraded.

Mowry’s lawyer, Daniel Herbert, said in court that the officer is assigned to the department’s citywide narcotics unit. He’s also involved in the department’s honor guard, a group that leads funeral services for police officers. Mowry is also an Army veteran and is married with three young children, Herbert said.

Chicago police officer released with electronic monitoring on August 6, 2015. Erin Mowry is charged with aggravated DUI with great bodily harm after he critically injured a female pedestrian on July 18, 2015, in Belmont Heights. (WGN-TV)

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