At about 3:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day, an Oak Lawn police officer was on routine patrol on 95th Street when he saw two vehicles in his rear view mirror approaching his car.
One of the vehicles was flashing his head lights to the other vehicle, which didn’t have its headlights on. The car without the headlights allegedly changed lanes without signalling, crossed the center line and nearly struck the police squad from behind.
After allegedly nearly hitting the squad, the driver swerved back to the right and again crossed the lines causing the officer to make a traffic stop near 52nd Avenue.
The officer told the driver, Jamal Abdelqawi that he had stopped him because he didn’t have his headlights on. The officer alleged that he saw an open bottle of liquor on the passenger seat and smelled a strong odor of liquor coming from the car.
When the officer asked Abdelqawi what he was doing tonight, he allegedly answered, “It’s New Year’s, buddy”.
When the officer asked for Abdelqawi’s license, he reportedly pulled out his wallet and pointed to his commercial driver’s license (CDL). He allegedly asked the officer, “can you give me a break?”
The officer didn’t give him a break and instead asked for the license and insurance card. According to the police, Abdelqawi began searching through his car for the card but stopped at one point, looked at the officer and asked why the officer was still standing at the window. The officer reminded Abdelqawi that he was waiting for the insurance card. Eventually, he found an expired insurance card.
Another officer on the scene alleged that Abdelqawi threw a bottle cap from the liquor bottle out of the front passenger window.
When the officer asked Abdelqawi how much he had to drink, he allegedly answered “not much”. The officer persisted with the same question, receiving the same “not much” reply. When the officer dug deeper and asked the follow up question of “how much is not much?”, Abdelqawi allegedly stated, “a half of a beer.”
The officer reported that he asked Abdelqawi if he knew his ABCs and he responded that he did. However, when asked to recite the alphabet, Abdelqawi instead said, “um, I’d rather see my lawyer.”
When the officer asked if Abdelqawi would perform any field sobriety tests, he allegedly responded that he would rather not have any tests. He was placed into custody for driving under the influence.
A search of the car revealed that there was a cannabis grinder in the driver’s door according to the police. They also claimed that there was open liquor in the car and that the floor board smelled of alcohol. Abdelqawi refused to take a breathalyzer according to the police.
In the booking area, the police alleged that they notified Abdelqawi that he could lose his CDL for 12 months or more. The penalties that commercial drivers can face if they get convicted of a DUI can result in stricter license restrictions compared to other drivers. If a CDL holder gets arrested, charged, and convicted for a first-time DUI in Illinois, they will face a license suspension of one year.
According to the police, Abdelqawi who had been described as laughing, delerious and uncooperative, became silent, stared at the officer and held his breath. His face turned red, according to the police, who reported that he put his head on the table before moaning and falling to the floor.
Abdelqawi grabbed his lower back and said his kidney was hurting. He said he had to go to the hospital for his pain and the fire department was called to transport him.
When the ambulance arrived, Abdelqawi allegedly refused to get into the ambulance and was in the fetal position according to the police. He was picked up and carried to the ambulance before being transported to the hospital for treatment.
At the hospital, Abdelqawi’s blood was drawn and the police alleged he had a .173 blood alcohol content. Abdelqawi was cited for driving under the influence, illegal transportation of alcohol, failing to provide proof of insurance, improper lane usage, failing to signal and driving without headlights.
Abdelqawi is a 36 year old white male with a Chicago Ridge address.