By Therese Porod
A Benedictine University Police Officer was dragged 142 feet by a vehicle in the Krasa parking lot on Saturday, April 13th.
While monitoring traffic at the BenBash concert this past Saturday, Officer Joseph Kieca observed a vehicle that entered the Neuzil parking lot, driving around the gates on the grass at 10:30 p.m., according to Michael Salatino, Chief of Police.
Later at 11:30 p.m., Kieca was in Founders’ Woods on foot patrol, explained Salatino. The same vehicle was in the Founders’ parking lot and was ticketed for improper parking and damage to property, according to Salatino.
About 20 minutes later, Kieca was walking around the Krasa parking lot. He saw the same vehicle drive past him and pull into a parking spot. Kieca and another officer approached the vehicle and shined their flashlights into the vehicle, explained Salatino.
The driver then proceeded to step out of the car. When the officers approached the driver saying they needed to talk to him, the driver then reentered the vehicle. Kieca walked up to the driver side window and knocked to get the driver’s attention. The driver did not respond, but smiled and grinned, according to Salatino.
Kieca then grabbed the vehicle’s door handle. As soon as this happened, the driver started the car and drove at a speed of 35 to 40 miles per hour in a large arc around the parking lot, according to Salatino.
Kieca ran alongside the vehicle, with one hand continuing to hold the door handle. Kieca lost traction and was then dragged 142 feet, explained Salatino. The vehicle was headed for the uphill dirt patch in the Krasa parking lot, which is when Kieca then let go of the vehicle. The vehicle drove over the hill, was airborne, and then fled campus.
Lisle police were contacted and sent out a statewide radio message, according to Salatino. At 12:15 a.m., the Aurora police department went to the house that the vehicle was registered at. They made contact with the vehicle, which was registered to the driver’s girlfriend.
Aurora took the driver into custody until a BenU officer was able to pick up the offender, according to Salatino. The driver was a 20 year-old non-student, Aurora resident.
He was brought back to BenU, and turned over to the DuPage States Attorney, where he was charged with one felony count of fleeing and alluding, one felony count of battery to a police officer, one misdemeanor count of reckless driving, one misdemeanor of reckless conduct, and one misdemeanor of criminal damage to property, according to Salatino.
The subject was then transported to the DuPage County Jail.
Kieca suffered bruises and road rash on his legs and elbow, according to Salatino. He was then taken to Edward’s hospital for treatment. Kieca is off duty until Thursday the earliest.
Kieca has also been awarded a letter of commendation for his willingness to see the case through and to see the arrest made, explained Salatino.
“The safety of our community is our mission,” said Salatino.