JOLIET - A Joliet man who fled the scene of an auto accident that killed a police officer has been sentenced to six months in jail.
Will County Circuit Judge Robert Livas on Wednesday ordered Juan Cervantes to begin serving his sentence immediately. Cervantes, 57, pleaded guilty in July to failure to stop after being involved in a collision and driving on a revoked license.
Livas said prosecutors failed to prove allegations that Cervantes caused the accident.
"Sometimes in life, things are just accidents," said Livas, a former Chicago police officer.
On Aug. 20, 2004, Jonathan E. Walsh was responding to a burglary alarm at the Joliet Park District Nature Center when his squad car collided with a sport utility vehicle then careened into a construction crane.
Cervantes told police he was pulling out of a driveway when the accident happened. He said he accelerated to avoid being hit, but Walsh's car clipped the rear of his Chevrolet Blazer.
Cervantes drove off, fled into a field, then called his wife to tell her to report the vehicle stolen.
He was arrested a short while later when he returned to his home.