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Article updated: 12/2/2012 5:02 PM

North Aurora cop honored for saving man from jumping onto interstate

By Harry Hitzeman

A seven-year veteran of the North Aurora Police Department will be honored Monday night for helping save the life of a man in August who threatened to jump off the Randall Road bridge over Interstate 88.

Officer Mark Shillair, 33, will receive the department's Lifesaving Medal at the village board meeting at 7 p.m. at village hall, 25 E. State St.

"Officer Mark Shillair's actions are commendable. As a police officer, you never know when a crisis will occur. In order to prevent a person from causing harm to himself, he put his life in jeopardy," Police Chief David Summer said.

Shillair was the first to respond to a call at 6:08 p.m. Aug. 4 for a domestic disturbance at Randall Road and Ice Cream Drive in which the caller said her 33-year-old son had exited her vehicle.

Shillair found the man on the Randall Road bridge over the tollway. "You better get your camera out, because I'm going to jump off the bridge," police quoted the man as saying when Shillair pulled up in his squad car.

Shillair got out of this squad car and pulled the man, who had climbed on the bridge sidewall that was facing the tollway, out of danger before he could jump into the speeding traffic. The man, who was taller than Shillair and nearly twice his weight, was not injured and later taken to a hospital for a psychological exam.

"Officer Shillair's quick response and actions, without a doubt, saved this subject's life," added Sgt. Dan Cyko, Shillair's supervisor.

Court upholds beating verdict: An appellate court panel has upheld the conviction and three-year prison sentence against a man for his part in a 2008 drunken brawl at a toddler's birthday party in Huntley that resulted in a man losing an eye.

Boguslaw "Bob" Czapla, of Elmwood Park, was sentenced in 2011 for aggravated assault and mob action in the fight which authorities said began with an argument over which Chicago baseball team was better.

Robert Steele, a former Gurnee man who was wearing a White Sox shirt, lost an eye in the fight after he was kicked while on the ground by Czapla's metal tipped boot. Steele had never met Czapla before, but Steele's sister-in-law was married to Jaroslaw "Jerry" Czapla, the party's host. The Czaplas are brothers.

Boguslaw Czapla's attorney argued that on one of the 911 tapes admitted as evidence at trial, Jaroslaw Czapla blames his brother for kicking Steele in the face. Jaroslaw Czapla was never called to the witness stand and could not be cross examined.

Attorney Barb Paschen argued that Boguslaw deserved a new trial because a 1968 Supreme Court decision said it was a Sixth Amendment violation for prosecutors to introduce hearsay testimony of one of two defendants being tried together.

The appellate panel disagreed in its ruling.

Jaroslaw Czapla pleaded guilty in 2009 to mob action and was sentenced to six months in the county jail.

Another man involved in the fight, Maciej "Mike" Trojnar of Elmwood Park, was charged, but fled before he could be caught.

hhitzeman@dailyherald.com

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