Chicago City Council committee agrees to pay $15 million to family of woman killed in police chase | Chicago News

(WTTW News)

The Chicago City Council is set to pay $15million to the family of a woman who was hit and killed by a speeding police car during a chase the officer was ordered to to stop.

The Chicago City Council’s finance committee on Monday unanimously approved the bylaw, which is set for a final vote by the full city council on Wednesday.

If the settlement is approved, as expected, it would be the third major settlement paid by City Council to resolve a lawsuit brought by the family of a Chicagoan killed in a 2022 police chase.

In February, the city council unanimously agreed to pay $1.4 million to the family of 13-month-old Shatrell McComb, who died when his family was hit in July 2015 by a police fleeing car. In March, the city council agreed to pay $450,000 to the family of Jack Burris, who died in April 2017.

Guadalupe Francisco-Martinez, a 37-year-old mother of six, died in June 2020 after a police cruiser driven by Chicago police officer Juan Blanco hit her 2005 Ford Explorer while traveling 98 mph said Mimi Ruether, the company’s assistant attorney for the city’s misdemeanor division.

Blanco and other officers had been ordered to end the pursuit before the fatal collision near Irving Park Road and Ashland Avenue.

The chase began in the far south after Illinois State Police spotted a wanted Jeep Grand Cherokee in connection with a shooting two days earlier. For two hours, police helicopters and newscast helicopters followed the Jeep along the Kennedy Highway before it crashed near Keystone Avenue and Irving Park Road.

The driver hijacked a silver Nissan SUV at a gas station, and the chase continued before department officials ordered it terminated.

Blanco’s conduct remains under investigation by the Civilian Police Accountability Office, officials said.

The department amended its vehicle pursuit policy in August 2020. The policy now requires officers to “consider the need to immediately apprehend a fleeing suspect and the obligation to protect the public from danger by fugitive offenders” and ensures that no officer could be disciplined for ending a pursuit.

Marked police cars must also take the lead in pursuit and activate their lights and sirens, under the revised policy.

In a separate action, the finance committee also advanced a recommendation from city attorneys to pay $900,000 to Dwane Rowlett, who was shot dead by police after fleeing a traffic stop on New Years Day 2017 .

After Rowlett drove away from the officers, he swept away several cars and crashed into a police cruiser.

Officers shot Rowlett twice after issuing conflicting orders asking if he should get out of the car and he became entangled in his seatbelt, the company’s assistant attorney told committee members. , Caroline Fronczak.

Rowlett’s lawsuit said he was unarmed at the time of the incident and no weapons were recovered from the scene, Fronczak said.

Rowlett pleaded guilty to aggravated flight and was sentenced to two years in prison earlier this month, court records show. Rowlett is also serving a 25-year sentence for committing a kidnapping in 2017.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]


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