Adam Copack, 29, was driving through a Chicago intersection when motorist Michael O’Donnell, who was allegedly fleeing Merrionette Park Police Officer John Longini, ran a red light and broadsided Copack’s car.
Copack was ejected and suffered spinal fractures at C5-6, resulting in incomplete quadriplegia. He has some movement in his limbs and walks with a cane, relying on a wheelchair for long distances. Copack also suffered skull and facial fractures and a traumatic brain injury. His past medical expenses totaled about $1.06 million.
Copack sued O’Donnell, alleging that he was reckless and negligent in driving under the influence and in speeding through a red light. Suit against Longini alleged that he was negligent in engaging in a high-speed pursuit and in continuing the pursuit from a neighboring suburb into Chicago. The plaintiff also sued the Village of Merrionette Park, alleging that it was liable under respondeat superior for Longini’s negligence.
The plaintiff later dismissed O’Donnell, who was uninsured and incarcerated.
Suit claimed future unspecified medical expenses. The plaintiff did not claim lost earnings.
Longini argued that he attempted to make an investigative stop, but when it became clear that the other car was increasing its speed, he terminated the pursuit and deactivated his lights and siren.
The Village of Merrionette Park settled for $5.25 million.
Citation: Copack v. Village of Merrionette Park, No. 08 L 000898 (Ill., Cook Co. Cir. May 16, 2013).
Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member Elizabeth A. Kaveny, Chicago.