CHICAGO (AP) – A Cook County jury awarded nearly $5 million Wednesday to the family of an 84-year-old retired teacher who was killed when a police cruiser crashed into a police van and careened into a car in which she was a passenger.
The jury awarded $4.75 million to the estate of Verona Gunn and $180,000 to be divided among three other people in the car with her when the collision happened, for their physical injuries and emotional suffering, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said in a statement.
The verdict is one of the highest in the state of Illinois for the death of someone in their eighties, it added.
“Today, this jury honored their oath and made the City of Chicago accountable for the tragic and untimely death of Mrs. Verona Gunn,” plaintiff’s attorney Andrew Stroth said.
Gunn was being driven home after a family cookout when the crash occurred on May 25, 2019, and she died hours later on an operating table.
Her daughter, a family friend in the passenger seat and the friend’s 9-year-old grandchild next to Gunn in the back were injured, as were 10 police officers.
The city’s law department did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment Wednesday.
In a similar case, the Chicago City Council last September approved a $15 million settlement to the family of a woman who was killed when a police cruiser ran a red light and slammed into her SUV after officers allegedly ignored repeated orders to end their high-speed pursuit of a carjacking suspect.
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