Chicago Police Pays $21 Million to Family of Woman Killed During Police Chase
Maria Carrion Adame, 37, was killed in a Chicago police chase involving a stolen van being pursued by officers in 2015. Adame was a innocent motorist that wasn't involved in the chase. Chicago officers were told by a sergeant to stop the pursuit, but they continued anyway.
On April 23, 2019 a jury awarded the family of Adame $21 million in a civil case verdict against the city of Chicago and three of its police officers.
According to CBS Chicago, in December 2015 a high-speed chase erupted through the Englewood area of Chicago.
Adame and her family were driving on their way to a Our Lady of Guadalupe pilgrimage. Chicago police officers were in pursuit of a stolen van driven by 16-year-old Trevante Reed.
Driving over the speed limit, Reed blew at least three stop signs and was “accelerating through speed bumps,’’ the lawsuit says that was filed by the Adame family.
The stolen van broadsided the Adame family's SUV and the impact killed Adame.
The impact pushed the SUV against a light pole and into the front yard of a home; Reed and two others then ran from the van.
Several of Adame's family members riding in the SUV all suffered “serious and permanent injuries” including serious pelvic and clavicle fractures, broken ribs and vertebrae, and injuries to internal organs, a statement from the law firm said.
The lawsuit accused the officers of an “utter indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of others” as they initiated the pursuit in an unmarked car with no sirens engaged and continued the chase although a sergeant ordered them to stop.
The lawsuit alleged police failed to follow protocol, authorized a pursuit “when the risk of injury or death to the general public exceeded the benefit of apprehending the suspects,’’ authorized an “improper pursuit when it was not safe to do so,’’ failed to terminate the pursuit in compliance with department rules, and failed to use their lights and sirens during the pursuit.
On Tuesday of this week a jury reached their verdict, awarding $21.3 million in the civil case before Judge Joan E. Powell at the Daley Center. The trial lasted three weeks. The family was represented by the law firm Romanucci & Blandin.
Chicago City Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey said they were “disappointed” by the verdict and were going to be evaluating their options.