The family of a mother killed in a high-speed police chase in Chicago would receive $ 15 million as part of a pending settlement approved by a City Council committee on Monday, more than two years after her high-profile d*ath triggered a shift in the city’s vehicle chase policy.

Guadalupe Francisco-Martinez, a 37-year-old mother of six, was killed in an accident in June 2020 on Irving Park Road and Ashland Avenue when she was crashed into a Chicago police car pursuing a suspect, according to city attorney Mimi Ruether. Francisco-Martinez’s estate has filed an unlawful d*ath suit, accusing an officer of a speeding offense, blowing a red light, and violating the Police Department’s policy during chases.

The full city council will vote on a settlement this week.

An officer who ran into Francisco-Martinez was removed as a defendant in the trial, and a spokesman said the officer was still employed with the Chicago Police Department.

Following the accident, there was a change to the general Chicago police order for emergency vehicle pursuits, although at that time there was a “balancing test” of when to engage in a car chase.

Meanwhile, a suspected officer has been pursuing the remains at Cook County Jail and is awaiting trial on charges, including m*rder in connection with that night, court records say. He will not be responsible for any damages in a lawsuit against the city.

“There will be great sympathy for the family (Francisco-Martinez) who survived such a tragic, tragic event,” Ruether said before the Finance Committee unanimously approved the settlement.

Speaking in favor of the $ 15 million award, she also noted: “The accident involved a Chicago policeman himself; it is not the perpetrator who was involved in the accident, which will potentially affect the amount of the settlement and the judgment. “

The series of events that ended with Francisco-Martinez’s d*ath – some of which were broadcast live on television after being spotted by a camera-equipped helicopter – began with the first police chase on the South Side. A stolen black jeep linked to multiple shootings and a homicide was spotted there before heading north on the Dan Ryan Expressway from 95th Street. Ruether said the Illinois State Police and Chicago Police took turns chasing him as he headed north, sometimes exceeding a speed of 110mph.

Chicago police drivers ordered officers to stop prosecuting the Jeep, while state policemen took control, and the Jeep crashed at the Irving Park Road exit of the Kennedy Expressway, where the driver was stopped. But alleged passenger Marcel Oliver, 22, ran to a gas station in Irving Park and North Pulaski Road, where Ruether said he had kidnapped a silver Nissan Rogue driver.

Ruether said the officer who later crashed into Francisco-Martinez was sitting nearby in his tagged police car with his partner. He turned on the hazard lights and siren and chased the suspect 3.2 miles down Irving Park to Ashland. They were both driving on the wrong side of the street near the construction site.

As both vehicles neared the intersection, a silver Nissan flew past the red light, Ruether said. So did the police car, but it hit Francisco-Martinez, who was driving north on Ashland and had the green light with “great force,” Ruether said.

Ruether said the police car was running 101mph just before the crash and 89mph at the time of the crash. Francisco-Martinez drove about 20 to 27 miles per hour.

Francisco-Martinez was pulled out of the car and died in the hospital during the operation. Oliver was arrested about 20 minutes later and charged with first degree m*rder, vehicle hijacking, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and other chase and accident charges. He is currently in Cook County Jail and awaiting trial.

Ruether noted that depending on the verdict in the criminal case against Oliver, he may be financially liable but “will not be able to pay any amount. This is just the reality of the situation.

The day after the crash, city leaders provided some details while also pledging to review their police pursuit policy. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she had become “very concerned about police action” since taking office and that a new policy and training plan was coming.

“The frequency of them causing d*ath, causing injury, causing property damage, entire work,” she said about the chases.

Two months later, the department issued an updated policy that introduced additional restrictions and formalities in such situations – including requiring an officer to “check traffic” before passing the intersection. It also upheld the balancing test introduced a year earlier, which calls on officers to assess whether the need to arrest a fleeing suspect outweighs the “inherent danger posed by a car chase”.

Stressing that an officer will never be punished for ending a chase after a vehicle, the revised code says: “The purpose of the Chicago Police Department is to ensure that Department members consider the need to apprehend an evading suspect immediately and the requirement to protect the public from danger created by avoiding criminals.”

In the case, which is the subject of the settlement, both pursuits did indeed involve “very serious misconduct,” Ruether said, but the jury is unlikely to conclude that the need to arrest the suspect outweighs the risk of speeding up Irving Park Park at the time. indicator.

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Ruether also shed some light on the last months of Francisco-Martinez’s life. She first lived in Rockford, worked the night shift at a factory, and drove the kids to school in the morning. But she was released during the coronavirus pandemic and moved to Chicago to be with her four youngest children: ages 6, 7, 11 and 17. Her husband was in US immigration and customs arrest.

Ruether said Francisco-Martinez was driving home after her first night working in a dishwasher at a nearby pizzeria when the accident happened.

“Her sister-in-law describes her as a single mother whose children were everything,” Ruether said.

Also on Monday, councilors unanimously approved a settlement of $ 9.05 million to Patrick Prince, who was wrongly convicted of the 1991 m*rder and attempted robbery of Edward Porter.

There was also no objection to the $ 950,000 settlement for Dilan Abreu, a Latin American bricklayer for the Department of Water Management, who accused him of racist abuse on the part of his former boss. The supervisor, the son of a former councilor, was one of several officials in the water department who had been dismissed in a scandal over racist and s*xist emails first reported by the Tribunal.

The Finance Commission also approved a payment of $ 900,000 to Dwane Rowlett, who was injured after the Chicago Police shot him on New Year’s Day 2017. The Civil Police Accountability Bureau found the shooting unjustified and transferred to Fire Officer Alex Raske, who as the first one quit. The shooting was not captured with body cameras or police vehicle cameras. Olszyny. George Cardenas, Silvana Tabares, Gilbert Villegas, Nicholas Liczato, Anthony Napolitano and Brendan Reilly did not vote for Alds. George Cardenas, Silvana Tabares, Gilbert Villegas, Nicholas Liczato, Anthony Napolitano and Brendan Reilly voted against.

ayin@chicagotribune.com

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