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April 22, 2009

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: $13M for Fatal 90 Mph Test Drive

On April 20, 2009, Tim Cavanagh obtained a $13.7 million verdict on behalf of the estate of Roger Czapski against Christopher Maher arising from a deadly automobile crash. After a two-week trial and three hours of deliberation, the jury returned the verdict finding Maher was 98 percent responsible for the wrongful death of Czapski.

On August 4, 2004, Czapski, 22, was a salesman for Motor Werks of Barrington, Inc. That afternoon, Maher, a 20-year-old from Inverness, Ill., took a BMW 530i on a test drive, with Czapski riding as the front-seat passenger and Maher’s two friends seated in the back seat. The BMW violently collided with a left-turning vehicle at the intersection of Algonquin Road and Willow Creek Church Drive. The BMW then ricocheted into a light post and exploded on impact.

At trial, witnesses to the collision, including the two back-seat passengers in the BMW, testified that the BMW was traveling at 95 mph at the time of impact. The posted speed limit on Algonquin Road is 45 mph. Czapski was pronounced dead at the scene.

Czapski is survived by his father, mother and brother. At the time of his death, Czapski was living in Crystal Lake, Ill. He graduated from Lane Tech College Preparatory High School in Chicago, Ill., on the honor roll and attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana for a brief time. He worked as a Motor Werks salesman for approximately 18 months before his death.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: $13M for Fatal 90 Mph Test Drive