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Appellate Court Upholds $17.6 Million Verdict In Police Car Chase

September 7, 2007

The Illinois Appellate Court today unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that awarded Vernon Hudson $17.6 million for serious injuries he sustained as the result of a police car chase on the Eisenhower Expressway in 2001.

The police chase left Hudson, 53, an avid horseman, paralyzed from the waist down without the use of his legs and limited use of his arms.

Hudson, a mechanic, was on his way home from work when he heard sirens and pulled over on the shoulder of an off-ramp to let approximately 12 Chicago and Illinois State Police vehicles pass. A Chicago police car, driven by an officer, joined in the chase without authorization, in violation of departmental policies and procedures. She lost control of the car, and it slid across the lanes, crashing into Hudson’s car.

The jury found that the police officer’s actions to be a “conscious disregard for the safety of the public.” The Appellate Court’s opinion today supported the jury’s findings.

The city of Chicago has 35 days to appeal the ruling. The verdict would allow Hudson to pay for his many medical and rehabilitation payments and to hire a worker who could help with his daily living.

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