Will County Judge Finds Off-Duty Officer Not Guilty In Fatal Crash

The Will County bench trial of an off-duty Joliet Police officer has concluded in favor of Erin Zilka. Will County Judge Dave Carlson found Zilka not guilty of aggravated DUI and failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash.

Zilka’s attorney, Jeff Tomczak says the most important evidence that Judge Carlson relied upon was the black box which found Zilka traveling at or below the posted speed limit.

Testifying for the defense were several law enforcement officers plus paramedics who said there was no suspicion of impairment. Zilka tested .07 for alcohol which is just under the legal limit of .08.

The January 2020 crash, killed Zilka’s passenger, off-duty Berwyn police officer Chuck Schauer. Zilka was traveling along I-55 and trying to exit Route 30 but a disabled box truck was partially blocking the right turn lane. Zilka no longer works for the Joliet Police Department.