Chicago ordered to pay $15 million for woman’s death in police chase

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CHICAGO (TNZT) — The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved a settlement that will pay $15 million to the family of a woman who was killed when a police cruiser ran a red light and collided with her SUV after officers disobeyed repeated orders to do their jobs. to end. high-speed chase of a car theft suspect.

Without discussion, the council approved the settlement with the family of Guadalupe Francisco-Martinez, a mother of six who was 37 years old when she died. The move was widely anticipated after the finance committee agreed with the city’s legal department that the wrongful death lawsuit should be settled rather than take it to court and risk paying an even larger sum.

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“There will be tremendous condolences to the family of (Francisco-Martinez) who endured such a tragic, tragic event,” the legal department’s attorney, Mimi Ruether, said before the committee unanimously approved the settlement on Monday, reported. the TNZT.

Had the case gone to trial, a jury would have been given the evidence set forth in the lawsuit, including a number of radio broadcasts ordering the pursuing officers to end their pursuit before the crash. Further, the lawsuit alleged that the officer who hit Francisco-Martinez’s vehicle drove way over the speed limit and ignored a red traffic light at the intersection where the collision occurred.

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The crash, which prompted revisions to police pursuit policies, occurred on the northwest side of the city on the night of June 3, 2020. Francisco-Martinez was returning home from her first day at a new job when, with the green light , she drove into an intersection where the officer with a flagged police car collided with her vehicle.

The driver of the vehicle that police chased is in the Cook County Jail, where he is being held on $1 million bail on charges of first degree murder, vehicle hijacking and other charges.

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The department came under criticism for that chase and others that ended in crashes. Last year, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that a “lawsuit analysis” prepared for Mayor Lori Lightfoot concluded that 180 of the 270 police chases in 2019 ended in accidents, including those that killed a total of eight people.

The city is defending itself in another lawsuit filed by the family of an 84-year-old retired teacher, Verona Gunn, who was killed in 2019 when a police car collided with a police van at an intersection and drove into a car she was in. a passenger.

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