By KRISTEN TURNER
WOODSTOCK – Richmond police Officer Brian Quilici’s drunken-driving charge was dropped swiftly because the ticket written against him was improper, lawyers for Quilici and Richmond said Tuesday.
Lawyer George Kililis, who represents Quilici, said the officer is honorable and the notion that the ticket was “swept under the rug” is false.
“He simply was not drunk. That’s what it boils down to,” Kililis said.
Quilici, 32, was charged Nov. 8 with driving under the influence of alcohol, and the charge was dropped five days later by Richmond village prosecutor Ryan Schmidt.
On Tuesday, Schmidt said the ticket, written by fellow Richmond police Officer William Fedderly, simply was a bad one.
Schmidt said Fedderly was called to Quilici’s Richmond apartment around 2:30 a.m. Nov. 8 in response to a domestic disturbance.
No one was charged during that incident, but a woman left Quilici’s apartment.
Schmidt said Fedderly remained near the apartment complex in his patrol car and, about a half-hour later, he pulled over Quilici’s car when it left the parking lot.
Schmidt said Fedderly did not follow Quilici for a short distance, and he did not issue a ticket for a traffic violation, which is usually necessary for an officer to establish probable cause for a DUI traffic stop.
Fedderly arrested Quilici on the street and then asked him to take a field-sobriety and breath tests at the Richmond police station. Quilici refused to take those tests, Schmidt said.
Schmidt said the police report says the entire incident lasted 30 minutes.
Schmidt, who also has prosecuted for other municipalities, said it is highly unusual for a person to be arrested, transported somewhere and then asked to take sobriety tests. Common practice is for a police officer to follow a vehicle looking for driving problems, and to pull the driver over and administer a test on the street. An exception might happen in especially inclement weather, Schmidt said.
In the police report, Schmidt said, Fedderly wrote that he noted a moderate odor of alcohol on Quilici when he was at the apartment taking care of the domestic-disturbance call. But, Schmidt said, that was not enough of a legal reason to pull over Quilici’s car a half-hour later as it pulled out of the apartment complex parking lot.
Kililis said Quilici came to him at the start of business hours last Monday morning and explained what had happened.
“He came to us immediately and said ‘I’ll fight it until my death.’ He didn’t try to avoid the system … He played by the rules,” Kililis said.
Kililis said it was he who called Schmidt and asked him to drop the charge. He said Quilici could have waited months for the case to go through court, but the error in the ticket was obvious.
“It didn’t take too much convincing given how glaring the lack of probable cause was,” Kililis said.
Police Chief Roger Szewczyk, who has not commented on the case, including whether there would be any disciplinary action against Fedderly, said he would meet with the media at 10 a.m. today to discuss the dropped charge.
The case has raised some eyebrows among Richmond residents.
Doyle’s Pub & amp; Eatery owner Jeanne Doyle said some of her customers have talked about it, but she would not repeat what she has heard.
“This has made the town look worse than if they had actually gone through with the DUI,” Doyle said. “If they were worried about the reputation of this town, they just blew it.”
Northwest Herald reporter Jeff Gard contributed to this report.