A former Carol Stream police sergeant on Thursday pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol in connection with a crash last May in Hanover Park in which he and two others were injured.
Bryan R. Pece was sentenced by a DuPage County judge to two years of court supervision, at least six months of wearing an alcohol monitoring bracelet, 400 hours of public service, participation in a victim impact panel, counseling and fines.
Judge Richard Russo also ordered Pece, 44, to agree to random testing for drugs and alcohol. In addition, Pece must regularly attend self-help meetings and pay restitution to the accident victims.
"You brought all of this on yourself," Russo said to Pece before handing down the sentence.
Pece was scheduled to return to work May 6, 2013, after being off for roughly six months as a result of injuries he suffered while on duty.
But about 6:30 p.m. May 5, Pece rear-ended a sport-utility vehicle that was stopped at the intersection of Army Trail and County Farm roads. The force of the collision pushed the SUV into the intersection where it collided with two other vehicles.
The crash left Pece with various injuries, including a broken vertebrae in his back and torn ligaments in his knee. Both people in the SUV, Sam and Julie Ferruzza of Carol Stream, also were injured.
During Thursday's hearing, Sam Ferruzza told the judge he and his wife are still living with daily pain related to their injuries. Ferruzza also mentioned how drunk Pece was at the time of the crash.
Pece had a blood-alcohol concentration measured at 0.337 percent, according to prosecutors. Anything over .08 is considered intoxicated under state law.
"I have two kids who nearly lost their mom and dad," Ferruzza told the judge. "I ask you to do what's right so it doesn't happen again."
But in a dramatic turn, Ferruzza dropped his request that Pece serve time in jail. It came after Pece was given the opportunity to speak.
As they both stood before the judge, a tearful Pece told Ferruzza he had wanted to apologize to him and his family since the day after the accident. However, his attorneys advised him not to speak to them.
"I am sorry for the pain I have caused you and your family," Pece said to Ferruzza.
Ferruzza responded by saying, "That's all I wanted to hear."
After the hearing, Ferruzza said he forgives Pece. "We all make mistakes," he said.
Moments later, he met privately with Pece.
While Pece declined to speak to a reporter after the hearing, he said in court that he feels remorse and shame about what happened.
Pece said he knows he has a problem with alcohol and is doing everything he can to stay sober.
His defense attorney, Brian Telander, said Pece is getting extensive treatment for alcohol abuse.
In addition to completing "an intensive" 30-day inpatient program at a hospital, Pece participated in a six-week aftercare program. He attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every day, Telander said.
"He's doing so much, but he'll never be a police officer again," said Telander, adding that Pece stepped down last month from the Carol Stream Police Department.
After joining the department in 1991, Pece worked his way up to become a sergeant 10 years ago.
Pece won't return to work as a Carol Stream police officer as part of an agreement with the village that allows him to collect his pension based on his years of service, Telander said.