Yet another settlement tied to deadly, high-speed police chase

A lawsuit filed by the brother of a man who died in a collision with a CPD squad car claims the vehicle driven by Officer Adan Ramirez was speeding through the residential neighborhood without its emergency lights on or its sirens activated.

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A Chicago police badge hangs in front of the City of Chicago Public Safety Headquarters

Chicago Police Department headquarters.

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The family of a 66-year-old man killed in April 2017 after colliding with an unmarked police vehicle speeding through Roseland is in line for a $450,000 settlement.

That’s the latest in a series of settlements stemming from high-speed police chases, and it goes to the family of Jack Burris of Chatham.

Shortly after 10:40 p.m. on April 3, 2017, Burris was driving west on 105th Street when he collided with an unmarked Chicago Police Department squad car at Michigan Avenue.

CPD has maintained the police vehicle driven by Officer Adan Ramirez had its emergency lights activated at the time of the crash, as officers were responding to a call of shots fired.

But the lawsuit filed by Dennis Burris, the deceased man’s brother, strongly disputes the police version of the rainy night crash.

That lawsuit claims Ramirez was speeding through the residential neighborhood with neither his emergency lights nor his siren activated.

Both leading up to the crash, and at the time of impact, the police vehicle “did not produce any audible warning,” the lawsuit states.

Ramirez was further accused of having “failed to obey the stop sign or adequately slow down to verify the intersection was clear before proceeding into the intersection,” according to the lawsuit.

That lawsuit also alleges that “leading up to and at the time of” the collision, Ramirez “had not initiated a ‘pursuit’ of an actual or suspected violator of the law.”

Burris, on the other hand, “traveled into the intersection after fully obeying all traffic control signals and was operating at or under the speed limit,” the Burris family’s lawsuit states.

“Defendant Ramirez was traveling at an unreasonably high rate of speed in a residential area in excess of the legal speed limit for vehicular traffic and failed to obey the stop sign.”

The Chicago Police Department had no immediate comment when asked if an internal investigation of the crash led to disciplinary action against Ramirez or his partner and, if so, what police policies or general orders were violated.

The settlement is on the agenda for Monday’s meeting of the City Council’s Finance Committee.

Alderpersons also will be asked to approve a $175,000 settlement stemming from a July 2017 crash in the 6500 block of West Belmont Avenue involving city employee John Schoessling and Krystyna Poczatek, who was left with “severe and permanent injuries.”

Poczatek’s lawsuit contends Schoessling drove the city-owned vehicle “without brakes adequate to control its movement” and “failed to sound the horn” to warn Poczatek before the collision.

Over the years, Chicago taxpayers have shelled out millions to innocent pedestrians, motorists and passengers killed or injured during police pursuits gone bad, despite repeated overhauls of pursuit policy.

Last fall, the city paid $2 million to compensate the family of a 55-year-old woman struck and killed on a Chatham sidewalk in 2018 by a vehicle leading police on a high-speed chase after fleeing a traffic stop.

And last month, the council OK’d a $1.4 million settlement to Shatrell McComb, whose 13-month-old son was struck and killed after a high-speed police chase through a residential neighborhood in July 2015.

The boy was in a stroller at 63rd Street and Ellis Avenue in Woodlawn while waiting with McComb and other family members to take the bus to the beach when a man being chased by police after fleeing a shooting lost control of his Toyota, jumped the sidewalk and slammed into the stroller. 

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