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Elkhart police officer resigns, pleads guilty to charges

ELKHART -- The Elkhart police corporal arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge following a wreck in his squad car has resigned, and this morning pleaded guilty to three charges before Magistrate Tom Murto.

According to Murto, Cpl. Ben Kruszynski, 38, Elkhart, pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and DWi while having a blood alcohol content greater than .08, the state's legal limit, plus, criminal recklessness with a vehicle, a Class A misdemeanor.

Elkhart Police Cpl. Ben Kruszynski's squad car was heavily damaged when he lost control and hit a tree near the intersection of Ash and Brummitt roads in Granger.

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Sentencing is set for Aug. 10.

Also, Elkhart police stated in a press release today that Kruszynski resigned Thursday.

Click to view image: 'Officer Kruszynski '

Authorities said that Kruszynski crashed his squad car into two fences and a tree while going faster than 100 mph with three 18-year-old women among his passengers Sunday.

Kruszynski, 38, was off duty and driving the marked car with the three teens and a 43-year-old man aboard when the crash happened along the Elkhart-St. Joseph county line about 11 p.m. Sunday, police said. The Elkhart County prosecutor's office estimates the vehicle was going faster than 100 mph at the time of the crash.

No one was injured in the crash, Elkhart police Lt. Ed Windbigler said. One of the teens riding in the car is a daughter of the male passenger, Mitchell Kajzer, according to police. Kajzer was the former commander of the St. Joseph County High Tech Crimes Unit before being laid off last year because of budget cuts.

Kajzer is the head girls tennis coach at Elkhart Memorial High School, while Kruszynski is his assistant, said Doug Thorne, the corporation's director of employee and student relations.

Kruszynski was released from the Elkhart County Jail on $1,500 bond Tuesday evening. Kruszynski could not be reached for comment because there was no telephone number listed for him.

Police said that a test found Kruszynski with a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 percent. Indiana's legal limit to drive is 0.08 percent.

The three teenagers in the squad car all passed field sobriety tests and were determined not to have been drinking, Elkhart County police spokesman Trevor Wendzonka said.

Kruszynski had been serving on light duty following an injury and had received permission to take his car home Sunday in preparation of returning to duty on Monday, Windbigler said. The car is a total loss, he said.

Kruszynski is a nine-year veteran of the Elkhart Police Department. He was suspended in 2007 for five days for neglect of duty and conduct unbecoming an officer after authorities said he failed to report a civilian police employee for taking photographs of a woman in suggestive poses in the department's lobby.

Prior to working for Elkhart, Kruszynski was a police officer in Goshen.

Added: Jun-13-2009 
By: komakazzi
Tags: cop, busted, drunk driving, pleads guilty, resigns, DUI, crashes, squad car
Location: Elkhart, Indiana, United States (load item map)
Views: 9845 | Comments: 4 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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