Village of Oak Lawn approves $10 million settlement in 2019 hit-and-run accident involving then-village manager

Mark Berkshire was hospitalized for months and underwent several surgeries after allegedly being hit by a car driven by the former village manager of Oak Lawn.

SHARE Village of Oak Lawn approves $10 million settlement in 2019 hit-and-run accident involving then-village manager
The Village of Oak Lawn voted to approve a $10 million settlement with the family of a man who was left injured after a hit-and-run crash with the former village manager.

The Village of Oak Lawn voted to approve a $10 million settlement with the family of a man who was left injured after a hit-and-run crash with the former village manager.

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Oak Lawn has approved a $10 million settlement three years after the former village manager allegedly hit a man with his car, leaving him critically hurt, then fled the scene.

Mark Berkshire was hospitalized for months after he was hit by Larry Deetjen’s car in nearby Chicago Ridge in 2019, according to a lawyer for Berkshire. He is still unable to walk and requires around-the-clock care, according to attorney Victor Henderson.

Deetjin was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, failing to render aid, failure to give information after striking a person, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to exercise due caution.

He resigned from his post at the village not long after the accident.

Berkshire’s family sued Deetjen and the village in 2020, accusing him of negligence and willful and wanton conduct. The lawsuit accused the village of encouraging Deetjen’s behavior by failing to adequately discipline him.

The settlement was approved 5-0 with one board member abstaining during a Nov. 8 meeting of the village board. The motion was included in a list of agenda items that was passed without discussion or debate.

Henderson said Berkshire and his family hope he will walk again, and the settlement will help with his care and rehabilitation.

“The family had the option of continuing the fight for an even greater recovery, but opted instead to put the lawsuit behind them in order to place their sole focus on Mark’s medical care,” Henderson wrote in an email to the Chicago Sun-Times. “He will now have better access to the best doctors in town as he continues the long road to recovery.”

Deetjen’s lawyers didn’t return calls for comment.

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