Monday, August 16, 2010

Dolton Teenager on Bike Killed by Car Fleeing Police

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that 16-year old Kenyatta Brack of Dolton was killed Sunday evening when a car involved in a police chase struck him while riding his bike at the intersection of 154th Street and Greenwood Avenue in Dolton.

The police chase began when Cook County Sheriffs were eastbound on the Bishop Ford when a gray Hyundai sped past them. The officers followed the Hyundai as it exited the expressway and attempted to pull the vehicle over. However, the vehicle sped off. The Office of the Cook County Sheriff claims that they did not give chase and kept a two block distance. Kenyatta was struck after a Dolton squad car had attempted to box in the fleeing Hyundai when it left the roadway and went through nearby yards. Tragically, a second vehicle struck Kenyatta after he was hit by the Hyundai.

From a legal perspective, incidents like this may be more complicated as they seem because there may be issues related to the police procedures used by the responding sheriffs and officers. In addition there are issues surrounding the civil liability of the driver of the Hyundai as he could face an action for punitive damages. Punitive damages are "punishment" for the actions of a defendant.

Section 2-604.1 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure provides that a plaintiff may request the judge, through a pre-trial motion, to allow them to seek punitive damages if there are "facts sufficient to support an award of punitive damages." The kind of facts the court looks for are those of reprehensible conduct above and beyond typical negligence when someone may have just made a mistake.

If the facts of this case as they have been reported are true, then this is a clear example of a case where punitive damages may be sought. The driver was allegedly speeding and fled from the scene after striking a child riding his bike in the street. Insurance companies do not typically provide coverage for punitive damages so the individual defendant is usually personally responsible for satisfying any judgment that includes punitive damages.

If you have any questions regarding this post please contact Illinois bicycle accident attorney Mike Keating at or 312-208-7702.