Hollywood has glamorized police pursuits to make them appear exciting and full of adventure. In reality, high speed races through busy cities like Chicago are very dangerous and pose many risks to the pedestrians and other drivers who must do their best to avoid the chases.
A Chicago police officer who had gone off duty was killed when a van being pursued by a separate officer crashed into his vehicle. The deceased officer was a veteran of the police force and the city is now looking into whether the officer who was in pursuit of the van was following the department’s pursuit protocols at the time of the accident.
While the victim of this motor vehicle accident could have been anyone, it is tragic that a law enforcement officer had to lose his life in such a senseless way. He truly was the victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now his wife and two children will have to find a way to continue their lives without his presence.
Responsibility in this case may reside both with the negligent driver of the van that crashed into the deceased officer’s vehicle as well as with the officer who drove the pursuing car. The police department may choose to enforce discipline against the involved officer if it is found that he acted outside of his authority, though any administrative penalties that he might face would not preclude the victim’s family from seeking damages against those who caused the victim’s death.
Speeding vehicles claim many Chicago-area lives each year, whether the drivers are simply operating too fast or trying to escape capture by the police. As this family regroups and plans life without the victim, others who have lost loved ones in speeding-related motor vehicle accidents may consider their legal options against the responsible drivers.
Source: The Chicago Tribune, “Calumet Park investigating police chase crash that killed Chicago cop,” Adam Sege, Naheed Rajwani, Jeremy Gorner and Angela Lourdes Leventis, March 14, 2014