The Illinois cities of Chicago and Calumet Park have agreed to pay nearly $13 million to the families of two people killed in police pursuit-related accidents.
In Chicago, Jacqueline Reynolds, a 56-year-old assistant at a Chicago law firm, was killed on Chicago’s South Side as she drove to a funeral when another vehicle sped past a red light and smashed into her car.
Ten months later, and less than 5 miles away, off-duty Chicago police Officer David Harris, 42, was driving home after a late shift at work when he, too, died when a speeding car plowed into his vehicle at a South Side intersection.
Both suspects who were being chased were charged with murder. The involved officers were not seriously disciplined, though the Calumet Park officer resigned, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Officer David Harris, assigned to a special saturation team that focused on South Side crime hot spots, was about 15 minutes from home when a van being pursued by a Calumet Park officer at high speeds ran a red light and slammed into his black Lexus shortly before 1 a.m. March 14, 2014. The married father of two young sons died at the scene.
According to Cook County court records, the village agreed to pay about $7.08 million to the Harris family, while nearly an additional $2.4 million went to the plaintiff lawyers.
Jacqueline Reynolds was headed to a funeral for her former husband’s cousin about 10:30 a.m. May 8, 2013, when a Chevrolet Tahoe being driven by Chicago police Officer James Sivicek slammed into the driver’s side of her Pontiac G6.
The chain of events leading up to the fatal police pursuit began about eight minutes earlier when a dispatcher broadcast over the police radio a report of a burglary in progress.
The city admitted liability in the Reynolds’ family’s lawsuit but went to trial in Circuit Court to decide the extent of damages. In mid-October, Judge Kay M. Hanlon awarded $3.5 million to Reynolds’ estate.