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Father of teen who died falling from vehicle in Lyons sues occupants

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The father of a 17-year-old boy who died last year when he fell out of a vehicle in west suburban Lyons filed a wrongful death suit Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court alleging that the driver and passenger acted negligently.

On Jan. 22, 2016, Joseph A. Porretta was standing near a vehicle at 43rd Street and Center Avenue in Lyons when his friend began driving and Porretta tried to jump on the car, according to village spokesman Ray Hanania.

Porretta hit the moving vehicle, rolled off and hit his head on the ground. He was taken with severe head trauma to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he died 10 days later, Hanania and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

An autopsy found he died of complications from cranio-cerebral injuries after he fell from a moving vehicle, and his death was ruled an accident. Hanania also said the incident appeared to be an accident.

The driver who struck Porretta, who was also 17 at the time, was issued a citation but wasn’t charged, Hanania said.

The suit alleges that the driver took off before Porretta got out of the vehicle, failed to avoid the crash and failed to yield while driving at a rate of speed that was “greater than reasonable and proper.”

The driver didn’t immediately call for help or “promptly transport” Porretta to a hospital, according to the suit.

The passenger encouraged the negligent behavior, the suit said.

Porretta’s father, Michael Poretta, is seeking more than $100,000 in damages.