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Missing Black Box Lawsuit Filed by Corboy & Demetrio

lawsuit, filed by Corboy & Demetrio claims that key evidence, a black box, was removed from a Chicago taxi cab after the driver alleged sudden acceleration was the cause of the crash. The crash left 38-year-old Joyce Kilburg of Chicago in a coma and with a broken back.

The lawsuit alleges the event data recorder was inside the Ford Crown Victoria on October 8, 2009, two days after the crash. Within a day, a protective order was issued on the car which was in a protected lot on North Elston Avenue. But a month later the black box was gone, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Kilburg, who suffered traumatic brain injury and is partially paralyzed, can’t remember that night but says, "The box held all the answers and it’s upsetting because it was the only thing taken from the car."

Kilburg works in the Illinois Film Office and was riding home on West Sheridan Road and North Winthrop on Oct. 6, 2009, after a Vince Vaughn movie premiere when the cab veered out of control.

The lawsuit claims the driver, Checker Taxi Company Inc. and the owner of the cab "removed or allowed the removal of" the black box, which was material evidence.

The taxi, a Ford Crown Victoria, is the subject of other sudden acceleration accidents, according to Corboy & Demetrio. Because the key evidence is missing in this case, Kilburg may not be able to succeed in a lawsuit against the car’s manufacturer.

Kilburg was on life support and was not expected to survive. Doctors told her husband to consider taking her off support when she miraculously woke up from her coma. 

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