Woman Sues Chicago over Police Chase that Caused Fatal Crash

Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report of a recent lawsuit filed by the daughter of a woman killed in a police chase. The woman is suing the city of Chicago as well as the shooting suspect for her mother’s death.

Marisol Mercado, 35, was driving on Pulaski Road on the West Side when a shooting suspect, James Brown, crashed into her, along with two other vehicles. Police were pursuing Brown in connection with a shooting that occurred on the 100 block of South Springfield Avenue.

Officers heard gunfire coming from the block and immediately after saw Brown fleeing in a car. When a witness pointed out that Brown was indeed the shooter, they tried pulling him over, however Brown refused to stop for police. Brown was allegedly drunk and driving at an exceedingly high speed.

Two CPD officers were chasing Brown, who ran several red lights and who eventually dropped a gun outside his window. When he attempted to run a red light at the intersection of Pulaski and Chicago, he struck an SUV, a CTA bus, and Mercado’s Saturn. The wreck injured nine people and killed one.

Brown is now being charged with felony murder, aggravating DUI causing great bodily harm, aggravated battery, and several traffic citations. Mercado’s suit names Brown as a defendant and accuses him of speeding, ignoring traffic lights, and failing to yield, directly causing the fatal crash.

Mercado’s lawsuit also accuses the CPD officers of not using their emergency lights or sirens to alert community members of the pursuit. It alleges that police should have known bystanders could be gravely injured in such a high-speed chase with a dangerous man.

CPD’s Traffic Review Board will analyze the officers’ choices in the pursuit to determine whether they made the right decision. The suit claims wrongful death and a survival action against Chicago and James Brown, seeking a minimum of $200,000 in damages.

In related news, a 19-year-old woman from Highland Park, Illinois recently missed her court date regarding the death of a five-year-old girl. The woman, Carly Rousso, was driving in downtown Highland Park on Labor Day 2012 when she ran over the girl. Rousso had been ‘huffing’ in her car before the crash, referring to inhaling chemical agents, such as keyboard duster.

Rousso reportedly voluntarily checked into an in-patient treatment center due to the mental trauma stemming from her crash, which is why she missed her pretrial hearing. She was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI. Her trial is set to begin in late September 2013, however, a plea agreement is possible before then.

The family of the five-year-old girl who died in the crash already brought a civil lawsuit against Rousso and her family, seeking damages of more than $50,000. A settlement was ultimately reached in an undisclosed amount.

According to the suit, Rousso was driving under the influence of difluoreoothane, a common cleaning agent. The five-year-old was walking with her mother and siblings when she was struck and ran over by Rousso. Then, as her family watched, Rousso put her car in reverse and ran over the little girl a second time. If convicted of the criminal charges the woman could face a maximum of 14 years in prison. She is pleading not guilty.

Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will continue to report on the developments surrounding these cases. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in a crash caused by the negligence or criminal actions of another, you have important legal rights. With the help of a skilled attorney you may be entitled to significant compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress.