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Steger Man Sentenced To 9.5 Years In DUI Wreck That Killed Boy

JOLIET (CBS) -- A Steger man who was drunk when he caused a crash that killed a 5-year-old boy has been sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison.

Cecil Conner, 24, was sentenced on Friday by Judge Edward Burmila. Conner caused a crash that killed Michael Langford Jr., who was sleeping in the backseat of his car.

A jury found Conner guilty of two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in February 2011.

"Judge Burmila handed down an appropriate sentence for a drunken driver whose actions claimed the life of an innocent child," said Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow.

"Cecil Conner knowingly sped through a residential neighborhood while he was highly intoxicated. He alone is responsible for losing control of his vehicle, crashing through a fence, striking a tree and causing Michael's death."

Conner's blood-alcohol level was later tested at .180, more than twice the legal limit.

Michael suffered a broken neck and severe head injuries in the wreck. Michael was the son of Conner's girlfriend.

Conner had been drinking at a friend's home the prior evening and into the morning of the crash. His girlfriend, Kathie LaFond, brought her son with her to pick Conner up.

LaFond, however, was pulled over by a Chicago Heights police officer on the way home while Conner was in the passenger seat. She was arrested for driving without a valid license; the car was turned over to Conner at the traffic stop.

At trial, defense attorneys failed to convince jurors that the police officer was solely responsible for the fatal crash.

Prosecutors argued that LaFond and Conner failed to tell the officer Conner was drunk. They argued the defendant chose to drive for 28 minutes after the traffic stop and then chose to speed through the streets before causing the one-car wreck that claimed Michael's life.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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