As 2012 was coming to a close, the Chicago City Council voted to approve the payment of $6.25 million to a victim who was run over by a drunken city worker on a Gold Coast sidewalk. The accident resulted in injuries to four other victims and those cases are still pending, according to a city attorney. The costs related to this horrific crash will likely continue to escalate.
It was May 2011 when Dwight Washington, 63, was driving a city pickup truck on the Gold Coast and ran off the street onto the sidewalk and into a crowd of people. Washington is now serving a nine year sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections, following pleading guilty to four counts of aggravated driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.
Investigating officers arrived on the scene and discovered an open bottle of brandy stuck underneath the accelerator of the city vehicle being operated by Washington. It was determined that Washington had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .183, or more than double the DUI limit of .08 or greater.
The Gold Coast Historic District of Chicago is located on Chicago’s Near North Side and is one of the city’s most affluent areas where new construction blends with extravagant residences built in the 19th century. The area was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
The victim, Richard Chang, was a computer scientist making $80,000 per year. Chang’s wife, Leeann, was injured as well but suffered far less severe and disabling injuries. Richard Chang was severely injured after being pinned under the city truck, suffering disabling brain injuries that will prevent him from returning to his previous occupation or care for himself without assistance.
According to the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Edward Burke, medical expenses for Chang total $572,000 and are continuing to rise. He explained that the accident was “a sad tale.”
Among the other victims was a nanny, Jennifer Anton, who was walking on the sidewalk with a twenty month old little girl in a stroller. Upon hearing screams and the noise of the truck on the sidewalk, she was able to push the child to safety. Unfortunately, Anton was not so fortunate. She was hit by Washington’s vehicle and severely injured.
Unfortunately, pedestrians are vulnerable to being severely injured when being struck by any type of vehicle. Due to having little or no protection, victims are likely to face severe head injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones and death.
Even where there appears to be no doubt about fault as with the Washington case, it must be proven that the driver of the vehicle was negligent and that their negligence caused the resulting injuries. In this case it was necessary to prove that the city of Chicago failed to adequately supervise Washington and that he was in the course and scope of his employment when the crash occurred.
There is no amount of money that can compensate victims for serious and disabling injuries or the loss of loved ones. However, if you are faced with this situation, you need to talk to an experienced Chicago attorney with a proven track record.