Jury Awards $2,118,000 Against City of Chicago in Police Pursuit Case
On June 25, 2015, after a two-week trial, a Cook County jury returned a verdict against the City of Chicago and for the Estate of 78 year-old Tommye Ruth Freeman in the amount of $2,118,000.00. Ms. Freeman was killed when a white SUV struck her vehicle. At the time of the fatal collision, the white SUV was being pursued by Chicago police officers relating to a simple, non-violent home burglary. Ms. Freeman’s Estate was represented by Larry Rogers, Jr., a partner at Power Rogers & Smith.
On July 3, 2008 the police were flagged down and informed of a residential burglary that had just taken place at 7702 S. Langley Street on Chicago’s south side. The officers saw a white SUV exit the alley way and proceed westbound down 78th Street, a one-way eastbound street. The officers made a U-turn and activated their lights and siren and chased the white SUV westbound down the one-way street, then northbound on State Street where the white SUV ran a red light and struck Ms. Freeman’s vehicle, which was proceeding eastbound on State Street.
Ms. Freeman suffered injuries resulting in her death 2 1/2 hours later. Ms. Freeman is survived by her two adult daughters, who were 59 and 34 years of age at the time of her death.
The Defendant maintained that the police vehicle was not involved in a pursuit but was “monitoring” the white SUV. Plaintiff alleged that the City of Chicago’s officers were willful and wanton in pursuing the white SUV as they sped behind it, traveling westbound on one-way eastbound 78th Street, against traffic, and running stop signs in a residential area, all in violation of their General Orders.
Mr. Rogers stated: "Tommye Ruth Freeman was a fantastic woman who over 78 years of life was an asset to her family and this City. A jury has found the City of Chicago willful and wanton for its officer's pursuit of simple home burglary suspects and recognized that its officer’s conduct placed citizens at risk of injury and death. I hope the City of Chicago respects and honors the jury's verdict and allows this family to heal and close this unfortunate chapter in their lives."
The City of Chicago was represented by James Ormond and Susan Song.