Proposed $750,000 Settlement to Victim Involved in Police Chase Crash
Chicago taxpayers will soon pay $750,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a 61-year-old man who was critically injured in a 2018 crash after accusing police officers of violating policy by pursuing the car that hit him.
On August 19, 2018, Vincent Tucker was driving east on 76th Street. He was hit by an Audi driving the wrong way on Harvard Avenue. Police suspected the car was stolen and that the driver and passenger were carrying drugs.
According to city attorneys at a City Council Finance Committee meeting, officers Carlos Yanez Jr. and Julian Rodriguez had stopped the Audi a short time earlier because it had an invalid South Carolina license plate.
After stopping the car, the officers suspected marijuana was present and discovered bundles of cash. Yanez asked the driver to get out of the car, but the driver sped off.
According to Assistance Corporation Counsel James Ormond, the cops began pursuing the car but failed to notify supervisors of the reason for the pursuit. A supervisor asked Yanez and Rodriguez why they were chasing the car just before the incident that injured Tucker. Rodriguez was later overheard telling supervisors that the chase was for a traffic violation. He did not mention any drugs.
After colliding with Tucker’s vehicle, the suspects continued driving before colliding a few blocks away. According to Ormond, the chase reached speeds of up to 52 mph on city streets.
Tucker suffered a shattered hip and broken vertebrae in the incident and will require hip replacement surgery in the future. His medical bills have already surpassed $331,000, and his upcoming hip surgery is expected to cost an additional $93,000.
He was hospitalized for 12 days at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He continued his rehabilitation at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab for another 20 days, followed by 30 days of home nursing care.
Ormond stated that the potential threats outweighed the need for an immediate arrest, so Yanez and Rodriguez had no reason to begin the chase. According to Ormond, they also did not activate their lights and sirens as needed throughout the pursuit, only occasionally turning them on.
The Finance Committee approved a $750,000 settlement with Tucker by a vote of 18-3.
Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) was one of the aldermen who voted against the settlement. He argued that the city should not be held liable for Tucker’s medical expenses simply because it “has the deepest pockets” in the case, and that the stop that led to the chase was legal. He also stated that the suspects’ Audi was completely unregistered, despite the fact that no reports of it being stolen had been received by police.
Three years after the crash, Yanez Jr. was partnered with Officer Ella French Jr. and was wounded in the same 2021 shooting that killed French. Yanez lost one eye and was partially paralyzed as a result of the shooting. It was not mentioned during the settlement hearing for the chase and the crash that injured Tucker.
The proposed settlement will be considered by the full City Council.
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