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Young Woman Fights For Life After Being Hit By Drunk Officer: Prosecutors

By Erica Demarest | August 6, 2015 2:00pm | Updated on August 7, 2015 9:01am
 Courtney Cusentino, 21, is fighting for her life at Loyola Hospital after being hit by an allegedly drunk off-duty officer on July 18.
Courtney Cusentino, 21, is fighting for her life at Loyola Hospital after being hit by an allegedly drunk off-duty officer on July 18.
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COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Chicago Police officer has been charged with drunken driving after he struck and critically injured a young woman who had just got off a bus and was trying to cross the street in Dunning, authorities said.

Officer Erin Mowry, 40, was off-duty when he hit the woman near the 7500 block of West Belmont Avenue about 1:20 a.m. on July 18, according to police and prosecutors.

Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said in bond court Thursday that the 21-year-old woman is still in "very critical condition" at Loyola University Medical Center. She is in an induced coma with bleeding on her brain, Scaduto said.

Courtney Cusentino, 21, continued to fight for her life Wednesday night, but her outlook was not good, according to a Go Fund Me page run by her friends and family.

 A Chicago Police Officer has been charged with drunken driving after he struck and critically injured a woman who had just got off a bus and was trying to cross the street in Dunning, authorities said.
A Chicago Police Officer has been charged with drunken driving after he struck and critically injured a woman who had just got off a bus and was trying to cross the street in Dunning, authorities said.
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DNAinfo; Cook County Sheriff's Office

"And tonight as I write this with a heavy heart...we were told her prognosis is very poor," her mother wrote. "They stated that her recovery may not be possible."

The woman had just left the Belmont bus and was trying to cross the street in the crosswalk in front of the bus, Scaduto said. Mowry drove his 1997 Mercedes around the bus, passing out of his lane briefly before slamming into the victim, according to police and prosecutors.

The woman was thrown in the air and struck her head on the pavement when she landed, Scaduto said. Doctors aren't sure if the woman will survive, prosecutors said.

Mowry, who stayed at the scene after the crash, admitted he was drinking earlier in the evening and said that he didn't see the woman before he hit her, prosecutors said.

Mowry wasn't given a Breathalyzer test until 5:42 a.m., almost 4½ hours after the crash, and his blood-alcohol level registered 0.092, above the legal limit of 0.08, according to prosecutors. He was charged with aggravated driving under the influence causing bodily harm.

Mowry's attorney, Dan Herbert, said the officer lives on the Northwest Side with his wife and three children.

Mowry has been a police officer since November 2012 and was recently promoted to the narcotics division. He also was elected to an honor guard that represents the department at funerals and wakes.

He served in in the Army in the infantry from 1993 to 1995, Herbert said.

Prosecutors said Mowry was convicted of speeding 11 to 14 mph over the speed limit in 1997. That same year, he was charged with having an open container of alcohol but that charge was later dropped, prosecutors said.

Judge Donald Panarese Jr. on Thursday said Mowry could be released on his own recognizance if the Cook County Sheriff's Office agrees to provide electronic monitoring.

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