Friday, July 19, 2024

SCOOP: Lawsuit Alleges Undercover FBI Officer Crippled Local Cop in Chicagoland DUI Crash

'The FBI does not comment on pending litigation. There is no further information available for release at this time...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) “Head-on crash kills driver; cop is critical,” was the dire headline that appeared in the Feb. 17, 2006, edition of the Chicago Tribune, describing an incident that happened the day before, when a drunk driver torpedoed down the wrong side of the rode and collided into an Arlington Heights police car driven by officer Tim Sheehan.

At the time, little was publicly known about the dead driver, then-35-year-old Evangelo Actipis, other than his history of drinking violations. Most of the local media coverage in the aftermath of the crash focused on Sheehan’s lengthy and difficult recovery.

“Tim Sheehan, 50, is still recuperating from severe head and abdominal injuries and uses a wheelchair or walker,” the Tribune updated its readers in October 2006.

But now, nearly 20 years after the fact, Headline USA has discovered a startling allegation included in a lawsuit filed against the FBI earlier this month: Actipis was working undercover for the FBI—something the bureau never disclosed.

The lawsuit comes from a credible source: former FBI agent Michael Zummer. The whistleblower’s transparency watchdog organization, Accountability FBI, filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over the matter earlier this month.

Moreover, Zummer’s FOIA lawsuit about the Actipis incident is specific: Along with other records, he seeks a memorandum or e-mail to James H. “Chip” Burrus of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division from Section Chief Richard Klein, during or around February 2006, regarding Actipis.

“Actipis is not identified as a law enforcement officer in the news article. Actipis’ blood alcohol concentration was four times the legal limit and the police officer in the crash, Tim Sheehan, was severely injured,” Zummer’s lawsuit stated.

Zummer also seeks any and all records pertaining to the FBI’s decision to allow Actipis act as an undercover officer for the FBI, including Undercover Safeguard Unit records regarding Actipis’ suitability for working undercover.

According to Zummer, Actipis was likely not an FBI employee, but a task force officer assigned to work with the bureau.

Zummer said records about the Acitipis incident are important to inform the public how the FBI approves officers for undercover work, including those with severe substance abuse problems.

The FBI whistleblower, who’s from Chicago but spent most of his career in New Orleans, declined to say how he knew about the incident. He did say he’s optimistic the FBI will provide him with the records he seeks.

Sheehan’s family couldn’t be reached for comment. A Facebook message sent to the local cop’s wife, Maryanne Sheehan, didn’t receive a response.

Likewise, Headline USA could find little information about Actipis or his family when searching for him online.

Arlington Heights Police Chief Nicholas Pecora didn’t respond to emails and phone calls seeking comment on the matter, while the FBI declined to comment.

“The FBI does not comment on pending litigation,” a bureau spokesperson in Chicago said. “There is no further information available for release at this time.”

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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