Oak Lawn Man Charged in Death of Hometown Police Lieutenant

Apr 5, 2021Press Release

COOK COUNTY, IL – An Oak Lawn man who allegedly struck and killed a Hometown Police Lieutenant providing traffic control for a separate crash investigation is slated to have a bond hearing today on charges of reckless homicide, felony driving under the influence, and other charges, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

Shortly after 3 a.m. on Saturday, April 3, Lt. James Kouski, 58, was re-directing traffic at the intersection of 90th Place and Pulaski Road due to a downed light pole caused by an earlier traffic accident when he was struck by a white Nissan Altima driven by 27-year-old Otis M. Pruitt, of the 9700 block of South Karlov Avenue in Oak Lawn.

Sheriff’s Police learned that after striking the victim, Pruitt attempted to flee the accident on foot, but was apprehended quickly by responding officers.

Lt. Kouski was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 4:38 a.m. Saturday morning. Pruitt was taken to a local hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the collision and was found to have a blood alcohol content greater than .08 three hours after the accident occurred.

Sheriff’s Police and the Illinois State Police conducted an investigation, and on Sunday the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved charges of reckless homicide, felony DUI, and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle – also known as Scott’s Law.

Pruitt remains hospitalized, but a bond hearing will be held in his absence today at Bridgeview Courthouse.

The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the government in a court of law.