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Fired deputy’s attorney claims special prosecutor misled grand jury

Andrew Schwartz

A defense lawyer is making a second attempt to get an indictment against a fired deputy dismissed.

This time, attorney Jeff Tomczak accused special prosecutor Bill Elward of misconduct during grand jury proceedings.

On Friday, Tomczak, the lawyer for Andrew Schwartz, 38, filed a motion to dismiss a charge of aggravated reckless driving. Tomczak previously motioned for a dismissal of the charge, but Judge Dave Carlson denied it.

The new motion claims Elward “acted improperly” by misleading the grand jury that returned an indictment against Schwartz.

Tomczak blamed Schwartz’s firing by Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley on the indictment.

“The improprieties specified in paragraph (four) of this motion have resulted in substantial injustice to the defendant in that the defendant’s due process rights were violated and the defendant has been terminated by the Will County sheriff as a result of the indictment in this cause,” Tomczak’s motion said.

Tomczak claimed the grand jury was misled with “vague testimony.”

Tomczak said Elward “did not properly instruct the grand jury of the elements of the offense or the required definitions in the Illinois statutes and the law.”

The motion is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday. Schwartz is still scheduled for a trial Aug. 1.

In a letter dated April 21, Kelley informed Schwartz that he was firing him after an internal investigation of Schwartz’s actions during a chase that resulted in a crash, according to records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The scene of a two-vehicle crash on Sunday, April 4, 2021, on Plainfield Road in Joliet

Kelley’s letter said Schwartz was found in violation of the sheriff’s office rules of conduct. A pre-disciplinary meeting on the matter was March 28.

Schwartz got into a “roadway confrontation” with occupants of another vehicle and he chased that vehicle “recklessly through the streets,” Kelley said in the letter.

“This chase resulted in you violating numerous traffic laws, thus placing the public at risk,” Kelley said to Schwartz.

Kelley was referring to an April 4, 2021, crash that sent six people – including two children – to the hospital.

Schwartz and George Kou-Kou, 21, were both indicted Dec. 8 on a charge each of felony aggravated reckless driving in connection with the incident.

Philip Juarez, his wife and his two children were the occupants of the vehicle struck by Kou-Kou, police said.

Juarez filed a lawsuit against Will County and Kelley, blaming him for Schwartz’s actions. He accused Schwartz and Kou-Kou of negligence and claims Schwartz committed willful and wanton conduct.

The scene of a two-vehicle crash on Sunday, April 4, 2021, on Plainfield Road in Joliet