Berwyn Police Officer Charles Schauer Killed in Suspected DUI Crash

Authorities in Berwyn announced that a Joliet cop is facing DUI charges for her alleged involvement in a multi-vehicle crash that killed another police officer. 

According to Illinois State Police, the crash occurred at approximately 6 a.m. January 19 in the southbound lanes of Interstate 55, just north of U.S. Route 30 near Plainsfield. 

Joliet Police Officer Erin Zilka, 35, purportedly crashed her 2019 Dodge Durango into the rear of a box truck that was stopped in the southbound lanes after being involved in a separate accident. Berwyn Police Officer Charles Schauer, 33, was her passenger at the time. He was killed in the crash. 

Zilka was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Sources say her blood alcohol content was below Illinois’ legal limit of .08, but she is still being charged with driving under the influence. She also received a citation for driving too fast for conditions, state police said. She has been released on bond. 

The two officers, who were reportedly friends, were off-duty at the time of the crash, sources indicate. It is unclear where they were traveling to or where they came from. Schauer was a 10-year veteran of the Berwyn Police Department and was a “well-respected” member of the agency, department officials said in a statement. 

As the case moves forward, Charles Schauer’s family may be entitled to a wrongful death claim. Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, the family of wrongful death victims can seek compensation for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. 


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