COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Chicago police officer was sentenced to court supervision and community service Wednesday for a hit-and-run involving a bicyclist in Logan Square.
Officer Michael Bergeson faced multiple charges in the Aug. 3, 2012, accident that sent Nina Pilacoutas flying onto and over the hood of his pickup truck at California and Wabansia.
The artist, then 25, landed head first in the street in the 3 a.m. accident, suffering head and facial injuries as her boyfriend, Clayton Meyer, looked on. They were reportedly returning from Pilacoutas' workplace after she had finished a bartending shift.
Bergeson, 34, was charged with two felonies: leaving the scene of an accident and falsifying a police report. The license plate from his truck was left at the scene, authorities said.
But at the end of his bench trial in February, Cook County Judge James Linn acquitted Bergeson of the two felonies. The judge did convict him of misdemeanor failing to provide aid and information at an accident involving injury.
On Wednesday, Pilacoutas, 27, asked the judge "not to protect a cowardly man who happens to be a police officer and who never once apologized for nearly killing me."
Bergeson then apologized.
"From the bottom of my heart ... I am sorry for everything," he said.
During his trial, prosecutors claimed Bergeson was drunk at the time of the crash, but he was not charged with that. Bergeson's attorneys said he called 911 after the accident, and those tapes were played in court. On the calls, the caller does not give his name and repeatedly hangs up on the dispatcher.
In sentencing Bergeson to court supervision, community service and fines, the judge described the laws determining fault and what a driver in Bergeson's situation is legally required to do as "gray area" and pointed to Bergeson's "outstanding" record as Chicago police officer.