Corboy & Demetrio Uncovers Key Evidence in Police Chase that Killed Chicago Woman
Corboy & Demetrio has uncovered important evidence during the discovery phase of a wrongful death lawsuit the firm filed for the Estate of 67-year-old Olivia Gross, who was killed when a minivan being chased by Chicago Police Officers for a minor violation, crashed into her car on the city’s south side.
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in Cook Co. Circuit Court, names as defendants, the City of Chicago as well as CPD Officer John Kennedy, who was driving the car involved in the chase and CPD Officer Benny Williams who was Kennedy’s passenger.
“The officers’ choice to start a highly dangerous police chase for a simple equipment violation led to the death of a mother, grandmother, and a lifelong public servant,” Corboy & Demetrio Attorney Michael D. Ditore, who along with Partner Michael K. Demetrio, represents the Estate.
Gross was a retired postal worker who spent her retirement volunteering for Safe Passage, a program that helps kids get to schools safely in high risk neighborhoods. She is survived by two daughters, including Karen Bellamy, who is representing her mother’s Estate, and several grandchildren.
According to the complaint, Kennedy was driving a police car at 6500 S. Martin Luther King Drive on Oct. 21, 2014, when he observed a 2010 Honda Odyssey van with no head lights on. Kennedy activated his emergency lights and attempted to pull over the van but the driver drove away.
Kennedy initiated a police chase and pursued the minivan in violation of Chicago Police Dept. General Order G03-03-01, which prohibits initiation of a motor vehicle pursuit whenever the most serious offense for which the motor vehicle is wanted is an equipment violation.
During the discovery process, Corboy & Demetrio uncovered evidence of GPS data showing the officers were at the scene at the time the crash, despite a police report that stated the chase ended several blocks away at 67th and MLK Drive. GPS records also reveal the speeds of Kennedy and Williams’s police vehicle, demonstrating they were still in active pursuit of the minivan at the time of the crash near 71st and MLK Drive.
In addition, Corboy & Demetrio discovered an eyewitness who lives at the corner near the crash and gave sworn testimony that she heard a big boom and looked out her window instantly to see the police already at the scene already chasing one of the subjects through the nearby park. A second eyewitness was a pedestrian on the street that gave sworn testimony that one of the officers was directly behind the van at the time of the crash.
Case info: Karen Bellamy, Independent Administrator of the Estate of OLIVIA GROSS, Deceased, v. City of Chicago, John Kennedy and Benny Williams, filed on xxx, 2014.