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December 15, 2003

COOK COUNTY JURY VERDICT REPORTER: $2M Awarded to Daughter of Police Chase Victim

On December 12, 2003, Cook County Circuit Court Jury awarded Elizabeth Santillana $2 million in a hotly disputed wrongful death case. The case arose out of a police pursuit on July 18, 2000, that resulted in Dalia Santillana’s death when her vehicle was struck by a car driven by a man fleeing a Chicago Police Department squad car engaged in a police pursuit. Evidence was presented that the police officers rammed the Gomez vehicle causing it to lose control and cross the center line. City of Chicago rules on police pursuits outlined in General Order 97-3 specifically prohibit ramming by squad cars. A Cook County jury rejected the City of Chicago’s position that it was not engaged in the pursuit at the time of the fatal collision. Because the City was found 25 percent at fault, it is responsible for the entire verdict amount. The City declined to make a settlement offer prior to trial.

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