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Illinois officer faces ongoing litigation for 2004 car accident

An Illinois civil suit related to a September 2004 crash has been remanded to trial court after consideration by a higher judicial body. The suit is related to a car accident that occurred on Route 67 near Macomb, Illinois, according to official reports. A higher court has sent the case back to trial because defense attorneys may have misled jurors during the initial proceedings.

Authorities report that the incident in question occurred when a criminal defendant sped away from a police vehicle, reaching speeds of 100 mph on the surface road. The driver allegedly did not have his headlights activated as he was driving through an intersection. There, he encountered a vehicle that was waiting to make a left turn. Although the criminal defendant did not strike that vehicle, the police officer did. A passenger in the victim's mini-van died because of the car accident, and several other people were injured.

Initially, a jury had decided that the officer was not at fault for the wreck. However, an Appellate Court has reversed that ruling, remanding it to a lower court for consideration. The judges reportedly rejected the use of a video that was designed to simulate the victim's line-of-sight at the intersection in question. The video is thought to have confused the jury, which could have led to an inappropriate verdict. Although the case has been returned to a lower court, no date has yet been set for the retrial.

Even police officers may face civil and criminal litigation if they act like negligent drivers. These law enforcement professionals are held to the same standard as civilian drivers. Victims who have been injured by Illinois officers may be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical expenses and a variety of other civil claims.

Source: Tri States Public Radio, "New Trial Ordered for High Speed Chase Case" Rich Egger, Mar. 01, 2014

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