Police: Drunken driver thrown out of bar before fatal Des Plaines crash

  • Piotr Rog

    Piotr Rog

Updated 4/21/2017 9:25 PM

The driver who was legally drunk and behind the wheel during a crash that killed three Arlington Heights family members in February was thrown out of a Des Plaines bar earlier that night for disorderly behavior, police said Friday.

Piotr Rog, 21, and his 26-year-old friend visited a bar the evening of Feb. 16 but were asked to leave a short time later, said Des Plaines Police Chief Bill Kushner.


On the way out, Rog punched a patron in the face, Kushner said.

"I think the bartender recognized they had been overserved and refused to serve them," said Kushner, who declined to name the bar.

Police haven't been able to pin down where Rog and his friend may have been drinking before they visited that bar and caused a disturbance. As a result, the police department isn't pursuing criminal charges against any bartenders.

"I think we've probably hit every establishment we could logically think of in the area and found evidence in one bar, but they were thrown out rather than being served," Kushner said.

Toxicology test results revealed by police Thursday showed Rog had a blood alcohol content of .216 -- almost three times the legal limit. The police investigation showed Rog's Mercedes-Benz reached speeds of 135 mph on Northwest Highway in Des Plaines when his vehicle struck a Chevy Impala carrying Kevin and Anita Crawford and their 20-year-old daughter, Kirsten. All four died in the crash.

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The 26-year-old passenger in the Mercedes-Benz survived but was in a medically-induced coma for weeks at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. Police earlier this month were able to finally interview him, but due to the man's traumatic brain injury, his most recent memory was going to work two days before the crash, Kushner said.

The two youngest children in the Crawford family, ages 10 and 16, are now living with their grandparents in Mount Prospect.

Their grandfather, Erwin Schmidt, said Friday morning he learned about the toxicology results in the Daily Herald.

"We knew it had to involve some drunkenness," Schmidt said. "It's nothing by surprise."

Bob Winter, an attorney representing the family, said he's looking to see whether there's legal liability on anyone's part. That includes exploring questions on where Rog became intoxicated, and whether he should have had a license, given his driving record.

Rog had multiple traffic violations that four years ago would have been enough to have his license revoked. The Illinois secretary of state's office and Cook County circuit court clerk's office have traded blame over why that didn't occur.

"We're looking into everything right now to see what's viable and what's not," Winter said. "We're still getting the toxicology report and police report and then we'll work backward from there."

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